Stress is not a useful term for scientists because it is such a highly subjective phenomenon that it defies definition and it cannot be defined precisely how much person can get stressed. And if you can’t define stress, how can you possibly measure it? The term “stress”, as it is currently used was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. Selye had noted in numerous experiments that laboratory animals subjected to acute but different noxious physical and emotional stimuli (blaring light, deafening noise, extremes of heat or cold, perpetual frustration) all exhibited the same pathologic changes of stomach ulcerations, shrinkage of lymphoid tissue and enlargement of the adrenals.
“I wish I were more stressed.”
I’d guess that you’ve never heard anyone utter that phrase. Almost everyone is on the hunt for ways to avoid or better manage the amount of pressure they experience.
But what if I told you that introducing a little stress into your routine might make you more productive?
According Yerkes-Dodson Law, increased mental arousal can actually help improve performance, but only to a certain degree. You see, this positive form of stress — known as eustress — marks the highest peak in the human performance curve. However, most people struggle to achieve such balance, leaving them feeling either under-stimulated or distressed.
Want to learn how to better measure and manage workplace stress? Check out the infograpic from Bryan College for more detailed research, as well advice on how to leverage positive stress in the workplace.