Imagine that you are listening to your favorite music track and you are asked to rate it out of 10 – you will rate it with a perfect 10. Then switch to listening to the second best of your favorite music. And here’s hoping, when asked to rate it, you will give it, say 9.5 out of 10. Both are very nice tracks to listen to. Now, in order to increase the effectiveness of the two, you decided to play both of them together. How much will you rate this piece of music? 19.5 out of 20? Well, no. You won’t even like it and will mark it as just NOISE which in turn will cause stress.
About 94% of US college students are stressed and overwhelmed at the time when they are supposed to be enjoying life. China and Australia have made declarations about the need to take better care of stress. Stress is a silent killer and can take away or detract from our performances – professional and personal lives. And in this hi-tech world, we are constantly pressurized to perform well, and to be available to do work 24/7.
So how do you handle stress, and how would you embrace stress in a positive way?
Simplify: Do less, and not more
A survey was done to map the emotional landscape of women throughout the day. It found that professional women did not find time with kids enjoyable. And the reason is very surprising. It was found out that women were really not mentally present with their kids, but multitasking while operating mobile phones, work among others. The high number of activities is affecting the quality of experience.
The University of London study showed that having your email open while doing a crucial work reduces about 10 IQ points. For the uninitiated, 10 IQ Points = not sleeping for 36 hours! So a solution in this fast-paced world probably switches off your phone for one hour at home or even at work when you are concentrating on crucial work.
In the science of happiness, the most important thing is time affluence vs. material affluence. Emphasis is more on relationships.
But is stress a problem?
No. What matters is how you recover from stress. You must punctuate your stressed life with bouts of recovery. In the past, there was more time to recover from stress, but now we don’t. Doing single task instead of multitasking is a sign of recovery. It eases your mind. Once you have conditioned to have regular byte-sized recovery sessions from stress throughout the day, it will enhance your productivity and can lead to deeper engagements.
(This article is curated from the session by Dr. Tal Ben Shahar – Don’t Stress over Stress: Embracing Stress as a Tool for Enhancing Happiness and Performance at TechHR’17)