Is stress always harmful? A long-term study of 30,000 individuals published in Health Psychology in 2012 revealed that people who reported experiencing high stress were 43% more likely to die prematurely, but this was only true if they believed stress adversely affected their health.
For decades, in our public speaking courses we have been teaching that stress is the motor of performance. So rather than dreading the stress of speech anxiety, we learn to embrace it as ‘the juice’ that energizes us. This new research suggests that this is also likely to be true in interpersonal communication—where avoiding conflict is often done to avoid stress!
Begin to think positively when you feel your stress rising as an important communication event approaches. Think: "This is the feeling I need in order to perform at my maximum. I am ready…" This reframing may save your life.
Please share your thoughts with us! What happened when you began to appreciate those sweaty palms and that rapid breathing that signals stress? Share your responses to the weekly discussion question on our forum: Community of Practice Forum