University HealthCare Alliance

August 06, 2019

Using Stress to Your Advantage


Have you ever felt completely bogged down by stress?  Wished for an extended holiday?  Yep- we’ve all been there; wouldn’t it be nice if we could transform that stress into something beneficial, like coal to diamonds?  “My head is about to explode!” –> voila! A bouquet of exotic flowers!  It turns out that we can, and our capacity to use stress for our benefit increases by altering our mindset.   In 1908 psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson illustrated an empirical relationship between performance and mental and physical arousal, stating that performance will increase with arousal, but only up to a point.  When levels of arousal become too high, performance decreases.

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