Samir’s Selection 07/22/2016 (p.m.)

  • New research shows that even severe stress can have an upside.

    Some scientists posit that what matters is not just the level of stress, or even its type, but how it is thought about. The same stress, perceived differently, can trigger different physical responses, with differing consequences in turn for both performance and health.

    Recognising that stress can be beneficial seems to help in two main ways. People who have a more positive view of stress are more likely to behave in a constructive way: a study by Alia Crum of Stanford University’s Mind and Body Lab and others found that students who believed stress enhances performance were more likely to ask for detailed feedback after an uncomfortable public-speaking exercise. And seeing stressors as challenges rather than threats invites physiological responses that improve thinking and cause less physical wear and tear…

    those who had been taught to see stress as positive still scored better.

    “Google images of stress and you’ll see a guy with his head on fire. We’ve internalised that idea,” says Mr Achor. He instead compares stress to going to the gym. You only get stronger if you push yourself beyond what feels easy, but afterwards you need to recover. The analogy suggests that stress at work may be performance-enhancing, but should be followed by rest, whether that means not checking e-mails on weekends, taking more holiday or going for a stroll in the middle of the day.

    Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist at Stanford University and the author of “The Upside of Stress”, helps people rethink stress by telling them that it is what we feel when something we care about is at stake. She asks them to make two lists: of things that stress them; and of things that matter to them. “People realise that if they eliminated all stress their lives would not have much meaning,” she says. “We need to give up the fantasy that you can have everything you want without stress.”

    By changing how their bodies process stress and how they behave, such reframing may help people live healthier lives.

    tags: stress anxiety psychology attitude selfimprovement selfcontrol confidence research

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


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