Stress can Be Good

Researchers visited “an investment bank, at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. They split around 400 bankers into three groups. The first watched a video that reinforced notions of stress as toxic, the second watched one highlighting that stress could enhance performance and the third watched no clip at all. A week later the second group reported greater focus, higher engagement and fewer health problems than before; the other two groups reported no changes.”

One of the researchers says, “Google images of stress and you’ll see a guy with his head on fire. We’ve internalised that idea.”

“He instead compares stress to going to the gym. You only get stronger if you push yourself beyond what feels easy, but afterwards you need to recover. The analogy suggests that stress at work may be performance-enhancing, but should be followed by rest, whether that means not checking e-mails on weekends, taking more holiday or going for a stroll in the middle of the day.”

Read more in The Economist