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Causes of Stress
Dr. Beverly Potter

Stress and Performance

Not all stress is bad
Activation level
The degree of activity in your basic operating system that includes heart and respiratory rates and muscle tension. Understanding the relationship between activation level and performance is central to managing stress.

What this chart tells you is that when activation is low, when you're bored or drowsy, for example, quality of your performance is also low.

A similar drop in performance occurs when activation is high. When you feel panicky, for example, quality of performance is low.

Very low stress and very high stress,
interfere with performing well.
A moderate level of activation is optimal for peak performance.  A little stress helps you to perform.
Things that stress us are called "stressors"

Universal stressors

Fear and anxiety are stressors.
Loud noise, like low-flying airplanes, screaming of sirens, and jack-hammering
Anything that threatens our safety is a stressor.
Many stressors are learned
Some people become very agitated when they must give a speech or tell someone what to do, for example.
Change is the most potent stressor
Any change, even change for the better, is stressful.

Why?  Change requires learning and adjustment to new conditions. There is always the potential that we won't like the change.

FUD:  Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt
Loss of control and feeling helpless
When we can't control situations, circumstances could turn against us, for example. Loss of control is very threatening to most people.
Stress and Health
Unrelenting stress is bad for you health.  It is correlated with the onset of disease, both minor like colds and the flu, and major like heart disease and cancer.

Remembered wellness

Herbert Benson, MD in his book, Timeless Healing: the Power and Bology of Belief, he says that eliciting the relaxation response twice a day evokes what he calls "remembered wellness" which is a phenomena in which the body returns to homeostasis and heals - it remembers what wellness is and returns to it.
Timeless Healing link to amazon bookstore
In another phenomena which Benson calls the "nocebo" effect the body manifests negative beliefs and expectations into disease states.
One of the most detrimental beliefs that Benson has documented is feelings of helplessness - which is the root cause of job burnout.

When you know that you ca relax yourself in difficult situations will increase your sense of control - your personal power.


Copyright © 1980, 1993, 1998: Beverly A. Potter, from "Overcoming Job Burnout: How to Renew Enthusiasm for Work", Ronin.  All Rights Reserved. This article man be down loaded for person use.  Any other use requires written permission from docpotter.

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