Trans4mind Home Page
~ Making the Human Heart Visible ~

Inspiring Quotes of the Week + super bonuses!


Identify Your Optimum Stress Level

By Tanja Gardner

What the Research Says
Experts in the stress management field have traditionally found it difficult to pinpoint how much stress is optimum. A very recent study, carried out by the University of Ohio, showed the relationship really depended on your definition of performance. In this study, subjects ability to recall simple facts seemed to improve as their stress increased, while their ability to think flexibly and apply those facts to new situations deteriorated.

This is interesting for those of us who learned back in basic stress management theory that the relationship between stress and performance always followed an inverted U -shaped curve. The top of this curve is our optimal stress level. Insufficient stress will leave us feeling bored, tired and lethargic. The closer our stress levels to that optimal stress point, the more excited and enthused we become about our work and our lives. Once we get beyond that optimum level, however, things start going downhill fairly quickly. All manner of negative stress responses kick in, and our performance starts to decline.

Unfortunately, useful as both the new research and the old concept are in terms of general understanding, they're equally frustrating for those of us who are looking for practical ways to optimise our performance. Even if experts could agree on the relationship between stress and performance, it still wouldn't tell us where our own optimal levels stress lay, because stress responses are so individual.

Focussing on the Effects
If we want a practical guide to optimising our performance, it's probably more useful to step away from the research and redirect our focus. In the same way as we've been taught to "know a tree by its fruit," perhaps the most practical way we discover our optimal stress is to look at the effects. We know that a limited level of stress can have positive effects on our performance, including:

  • Motivation to start new projects
  • Motivation to finish them on time
  • Motivation to produce higher quality work
  • The feeling that comes with conceptualising tasks as challenges that can be met

At the same time, we also have well documented cases of too much stress leading to:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Procrastination and demotivation
  • Anxiety and/or insomnia
  • Emotional overreacting (irritability or tearfulness)

If we focus on these effects, we can identify our optimum stress level by looking at our current performance and motivation levels. It's not always easy to be objective. Sometimes asking for a second opinion from a friend or colleague can help. Other times a little time spent reflecting-journaling or just thinking it through alone-may be all that's needed.

Either way, it's important to look at what stressors are present, and where performance and motivation levels are. It can also be helpful to look at whether there have been any noticeable shifts in either recently, and what events or changes were taking place at the same time (whether or not they felt like stressors at the time).

Once we have a feel for what stressors we ve been facing, and how we're really performing, we're in a better position to understand the relationship between stress and performance in our lives. And once we understand that, ensuring the right level of stress for optimum performance becomes a matter of details.

Copyright © 2005 Tanja Gardner, Optimum Life Ltd.

More personal development articles at the Counterpoint Article Library

From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:

comment

Looking for a better life?

Trans4mind Training is our series of online, interactive video workshops. We present the most effective methods of holistic personal development, combined with support from expert life coaches.
The human heart made visible.

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...
 
Get a free Hypnosis Download at Facebook

Welcome to the New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
I think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
Copyright © 1997-2016 Trans4mind Ltd
F
R
E
E

H
E
L
P