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Stress and Performance

Stress and Performance

Many of the people I coach say that they have too much stress.  For some it is the reason they come for coaching.  For others it is a consequence of what else is going on for them.  And then there are others, who come to me because they are wondering “is this it?”:  often a euphemism for boredom or feeling unfulfilled.

But there are three levels of stress which affect performance and I wanted to share them with you.

  1. The most obvious level is high stress, or “distress”.  This is when demands are more than your perceived ability to cope.  We can all cope with this sometimes but if it is too much for too long, it can significantly affect performance with mistakes made, irritation leading to poorer working relationships and difficulty focusing, plus much, much more.  The risks are burnout or breakdown.  These are conditions which can take a year to overcome.
  2. Then we have low levels of stress.  You may think this a good thing.  And often it is.  But it can also be a sign of boredom which can affect performance through a lack of engagement.  This, in turn, leads to a lack of focus and concentration which also impacts results.
  3. Less known is the level of “eustress”.  This is where stress has its sweet spot:  you are energised, focused and in the zone.

These levels are illustrated in this image:

So, here are a few questions to help you understand where you are. It’s best to take your time over this and the insights can really help you:

  1. At the moment, which section would you put yourself in?
  2. What proportion do you think you spend in each of the sections?
  3. What tips you into one section or another?
  4. What can you do to ensure that you enjoy levels of eustress more often? 

If you would like help getting your stress in the positive zone so you are in your flow more often, call 0345 130 0854 to find out more.

PS  If this is an area of particular interest for you, you may also want to read this article on stress resilience.  Plus there is a whole range of articles covering different sources of stress you will find in my blogs including perfectionism, conflict, fear of failure, overwhelm and many more.