Dr. Levy's CBT Blog
Insights on Well-Being, Contentment, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Let's say you have an important work deadline coming up, or an important meeting, or a job interview. You'll likely be a bit stressed about it, right? That's understandable - and useful! A reasonable amount of stress shows that we care about these critical tasks and can actually help us prepare better for them. However, every now and then, that stress gets out of hand...instead of encouraging us to be ready for the challenge, the stress mounts so high that it makes that challenge seem completely unattainable.
In the early 1900s, psychology researchers Robert Yerkes and John Dodson developed an empirical curve that illustrates our performance levels on a task relative to the stress levels present in that situation. It is easy to understand if you think about it in terms of a test at school. If there is no stress at all, we won't really prepare for the test, and might show up on the exam day without having done any studying. A good amount of worry and stress will encourage us to prepare for the test by reading the book chapters and doing the practice exercises, once...or maybe twice. An amount of stress beyond that might lead us to re-read all those chapters and re-do the practice exercises a few too many times, to the point where we may be too tired by the time the test comes along to get the best grades. And if we are really, really scared of the test, telling ourselves that it's way too difficult and we will never get a good grade on it, we may just throw our hands up in the air and not study for it at all. We may give up before we start, out of panic, exhaustion, and fear.
So, some stress is good. Too little or too much may lead to subpar performance. The question is how to modulate the stress to get it to the level that is good for you. There are many answers there, ranging from relaxation exercises to worry break and mindfulness moments to reappraising the importance and threat of the situations ahead. In TEAM-CBT, we have some great tools that can help with all of those!
Dr. Daniele Levy is a licensed psychologist offering CBT in-person and via Teletherapy in Menlo Park, CA. Her background uniquely combines leading edge training in behavioral sciences with deep expertise coaching and mentoring working professionals in dynamic organizations.
This website is provided for information purposes only. No professional relationship is assumed by use of this website.
California License PSY 27448
Copyright © 2014 Daniele V. Levy, PhD
Bay Area Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Office: 830 Menlo Ave, Suite 200, Menlo Park CA
Mailing: 405 El Camino Real #256, Menlo Park CA