In a recently published article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Yale University researchers investigates interesting hypotheses on the positive side of stress. Let’s see how:
Stress is the experimentation (or anticipation) of adverse or difficult situations. The human physiological reaction is to release adrenaline and cortisol, which increases our ability to respond quickly to events. On one hand, this can weaken your immune system and even cause depression. On the other hand, it increases mental clarity and boosts confidence to overcome obstacles.
Right … so is the intensity of the stress that determines whether it will do good or bad for me in a particular situation? No, and that’s where the research, conducted with more than 400 employees of financial institutions, surprises. Ii is your mindset, or your way of looking at stress – as stimulating or debilitating, that changes everything.
Most people believe that ‘stress is bad and needs to be avoided’, and those are the ones who have a lower satisfaction with life, poorer health and less productivity at work. Meanwhile, a minority thinks that ‘stress facilitates learning and growth’, and those are the most satisfied people, with better health and the most productive at work.
But the best news brought by the study is that it is possible to migrate from one group to another. Through videos and specific training, many people were able to adjust their level of cortisol, have more constructive attitudes in situations of stress and improve their overall satisfaction with life.
The final conclusion is that stress will only kill you if you think that it will. Obviously, there are situations where the load is simply too big and you need to make an adjustment of expectations about what can be done or not. And that’s when the Runrun.it helps leaders and their teams to be realistic about the resources available, the priorities and the dates on which it is reasonable to expect deliverables to show up.
But if you look at difficult situations as opportunities for growth and demonstration of value and loyalty, science shows that you will be happier, have better health and produce more.
If you want to read the original article in Harvard Business Review or know the Runrun.it in more detail, just follow the links below: