Reevaluating how you perceive stress can make a big difference to your mental health, general well-being, and success, according to new research.
In a new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, researchers trained adolescents and young adults at a community college to treat their stress response as a tool rather than an obstacle.
The team found that in addition to reducing their anxiety, that “good stress” mindset reset helped the students score higher on tests, procrastinate less, stay enrolled in classes, and respond to academic challenges in a healthier way.
To reframe their understanding of stress, the students completed a standardized reading and writing exercise that taught them that their stress responses had a function in performance contexts that applied directly to them, such as test taking.
“We use a type of ‘saying is believing’ approach whereby participants learn about the adaptive benefits of stress and they are prompted to write about how it can help them achieve,” says lead author Jeremy Jamieson, an associate professor of psychology and the principal investigator at the University of Rochester’s Social Stress Lab. He researches how experiences of stress affect decisions, emotions, and performance. The study builds on his earlier research on optimizing stress responses.
Here, Jamieson explains his work and how it can help you cope with stress:
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