PERFORMANCE IMPACT OF STRESS
We have seen how in the short term, stress response
increases our survival performance. In the longer term,
the behavioural and physiological impacts all add up
to ever decreasing performance in ALL areas of your
- Your work suffers – from lack of ability to
concentrate, lack of sleep, lack of motivation.
- Your relationships suffer – from irritable
responses, lack of sociability, poor personal presentation
moodiness, lack of energy to participate in group
- Your home suffers – you give up caring, houses
need nourishing as well.
- Your financial performance suffers – as a
direct result of work performance
- Your sporting performance suffers – from
lack of exercise and proper nutrition
- Your self esteem suffers – feeling of guilt
and lack of satisfaction are further compounded by
our failure to assert ourselves when we should.
In essence, our live just snowballs out of control
and to many seems irrecoverable. Fortunately this is
not true. Whilst the triggering issues may take some
time and professional intervention to resolve, we can
integrate that resolution into the rest of our positive
satisfying lives, and thereby reducing its significance.
Pressure & Performance – the Inverted U
The relationship between pressure and performance
is further explained in the “Inverted-U”
model used by work performance coaches and sporting
When there is little pressure [or stress] on us to performance
any task, then performance will be low. At the other
end of the curve; when there is too much pressure or
stress, performance will also be low.
Hence for maximum performance in anything we do, we
require a certain level of pressure.
The Inverted-U Relationships Between Stress
From a realm of “boredom” or no pressure,
as pressure on us increases, we enter the zone of best
performance. There is sufficient pressure to both spur
us into action to start the task, as well as to help
us focus our attention to complete the task.
Once we tip over this zone of best performance, the
impact of stress starts eroding our capability. We hesitate
to start or complete the task, preferring it just disappeared.
Typcial responses include procrastination, fooling ourselves
into believing it is no longer important or that something
else takes precedence, or just plain hoping that someone
else will do it for us.
The reality is that whilst we may temporarily put the
task and its associated stresses out of our minds, its
still there! And any subtle reference to it can trigger
a severe stress response at an inappropriate time.
The more our performance suffers, the more new distractions,
difficulties, anxieties and negative thoughts crowd
Other research has shown that stress reduces people’s
ability to deal with large amounts of information. Both
decision-making and creativity are impaired because
people are unable to take account of all the information
available. This inability accounts for the common observation
that highly stressed people will persist in a course
of action even when better alternatives are available.
It also explains why anxious people perform best when
they are put under little additional stress, while calm
people may need additional pressure to produce a good
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