For Maximum Performance add a LITTLE Stress!



A psychological theory, The Yerkes-Dodson Law, maintains that people can achieve peak performance if they have some stress.  The caveat here is the AMOUNT of stress.  An athlete about the participate in an event may perform better if she’s a little nervous.  S test taker may work more efficiently if he’s a bit anxious.  The About Health website provides the following explanation: “The Yerkes-Dodson Law suggests that there is a relationship between performance and arousal. Increased arousal can help improve performance, but only up to a certain point. At the point when arousal becomes excessive, performance diminishes.”

The amount of stress someone can handle varies with the assignment. While the performer certainly needs to be alert to accomplish a given task, the level of arousal should not reach such a  point that anxiety overtakes him. The more complicated the task, the lower the anxiety level someone can tolerate.  For example, students taking an entrance exam like the ACT or SAT need to be sufficiently awake and alert to answer the test questions. Yet, if they are too anxious, their cognitive processes can become impaired. “ An optimal level of stress can help one focus on the test and remember the information that she studied; too much test anxiety can impair  ability to concentrate and make it more difficult to remember the correct answers.”(

So the key, then for those involved in any kind of performance task, whether academic, athletic, or artistic, is to be able to control their anxiety levels. Of course, being prepared is essential for reducing anxiety.  Furthermore, performers can practice a variety of relaxation techniques regularly, not only during the particular event.  Individuals will gravitate to the methods that work bet for them, physical exercise, meditation, deep breathing, visualization, and host more.  

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