Eustress, distress and performance curve: How much stress is good for you?

Eustress, distress and performance curve: How much stress is good for you?

Stress is the disease of the century, and seems to be to blame for all our ills, but perhaps we have not understood well.

stress is currently considered a public health problem and is a word that is commonly used to denote negative situations that are associated with other problems such as depression , insomnia, fatigue, and so on. Indeed, too much stress can be an important factor affecting our health and resulted in serious effects on our body, but not all stress is bad : the current state of science distinguishes between the positive, or “eustress” and the negative, or “distress”.

If stress is a natural and necessary physiological reaction of the organism to situations of increased demand for resources, covering all positive stress those physical, physiological and psychological stimuli that produce a positive response. That is, eustress when we talk about the subject’s response to the stimulus that causes stress promotes adaptation to stressful factor; on the other hand, if the answer does not favor adaptation or difficult, we are talking about distress.

This means that to some extent, stress is necessary for our body reacts to certain stimuli positively , either fleeing a predator successfully delivered on time or that report to our boss (another predator). There is a point at which stress can help us increase our productivity and produce our best results , and a point after which it begins to hinder our performance. This is known as the Yerkes Dodson Law, or inverted U Performance . This law states that the performance is increased through mental or psychological stimulus (ie, stress), but only to a point, after which the performance begins to decline.

The inverted U Performance

According to the proposed law Yerkes Dodson model, the peak of performance is achieved when a person experiences a moderate level Pressure . At points where there is little stress or too much stress, performance declines, including severely.

The left side of the graph shows those scenarios in which people are under-stimulated or in his “zone comfort “. are not motivated to work hard, and are therefore at risk of carrying out their work in a careless and lazy way

The midpoint of the graph shows the area of ​​maximum effectiveness where the person is motivated enough to try, but not too overloaded . According to studies conducted by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who developed the concept of “flow”, so that people reach this state of peak performance must be in a situation where they are required to slightly above their capacity :. not below where they are comfortable, not too far above where they are not able to achieve the goals

The right side of the graph shows When people start to fall apart under the overpressure . Stress overwhelms and enter related to panic states.


Aaahhh !!! under license by Evil Erin CC BY 2.0 .

However, the way in which people perform and the level of pressure that can withstand depends on several factors , including their skills, the complexity of the task, the personality and tolerance to the anxiety of the person and the type of performance required. Different tasks require different levels of stimulus, so that or mechanical tasks that require persistence may perform better with high stress levels, while tasks Creative only tolerate low levels , since creativity decays rapidly when the pressure rises.

Regardless of how much tolerate to achieve your optimal stress level pressure, eustress It is easy to recognize: is the point between feeling anxious, running from side to side, and feel depressed or unmotivated . In the area of ​​optimum stress, have energy and focus, and you feel capable of facing the challenges that come before you.


Eustress, distress and performance curve: How much stress is good for you?
Source: english  
September 19, 2015

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