Presentation Title

Rethinking the Way We Look at Stress: The Positive Effects of Stress

Faculty Mentor

Michael C. Harnett, Ph. D.

Start Date

17-11-2018 9:30 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 9:45 AM

Location

C153

Session

Oral 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Subject Key-terms:

Stress

Mental Health

Physical Health

Health Risks

Motivation

College Students

Positive outlook

While individuals commonly associate stress with negativity, research shows that with a positive mentality, stress can be beneficial for one’s mental and physical health. For many students, school-related stress often comes from a lack of perceived success. By altering their perspective on stress, students can use stress to their advantage. There are many health risks associated with stress, which can affect one's body, mood, and behavior. These health risks can range from a minor heachache to cardiovascular diseases, which is the number one leading cause of death in the United States. This can all be resolved if the individual has a positive outlook on stress. The health risks an individual faces might be as low as those of someone with little or no stress. College students are among those who are intimately familiar with the experience of stress that can be anywhere from worrisome to debilitating. However, in small doses, stress can help students meet daily challenges and increase their motivation. Participants who learn to view stress responses as helpful for their performance can be less stressed-out, less anxious, and more confident on tasks such as taking exams. This is why many doctors, for instance, can perform well under extremely stressful situations. It’s not because they don't experience stress; rather, it is because they view stress as a tool which allows them to focus on a given task.

Summary of research results to be presented

To investigate this hypothesis of helpful stress, I conducted a survey by asking randomly selected students enrolled in a rigorous course about aspects of their outlook on stress, along with their latest test performance. The survey was conducted anonymously, ensuring reliable and trustworthy responses. Results showed higher test scores among individuals who had a positive outlook on stress, as they are more confident, more alert, and less anxious during stressful situations, with few exceptions. The results involving performance through stress were also very clear. 90% of the participants who received an A on the exam, had a positive outlook on stress. 58% of the participants who received a B on the exam had a positive outlook on stress. Those who received a C had no positive outlook on stress, and only 16% of the students who received a D on the exam had a positive outlook on stress. Thus, students who had a positive outlook on stress performed better on their exams. They used the concept of stress to focus on one task, which was to complete the exam with a good score. In all, this study suggests that people who have a positive outlook on stress and use stress to motivate themselves can learn and perform better under stressful situations.

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Nov 17th, 9:30 AM Nov 17th, 9:45 AM

Rethinking the Way We Look at Stress: The Positive Effects of Stress

C153

Subject Key-terms:

Stress

Mental Health

Physical Health

Health Risks

Motivation

College Students

Positive outlook

While individuals commonly associate stress with negativity, research shows that with a positive mentality, stress can be beneficial for one’s mental and physical health. For many students, school-related stress often comes from a lack of perceived success. By altering their perspective on stress, students can use stress to their advantage. There are many health risks associated with stress, which can affect one's body, mood, and behavior. These health risks can range from a minor heachache to cardiovascular diseases, which is the number one leading cause of death in the United States. This can all be resolved if the individual has a positive outlook on stress. The health risks an individual faces might be as low as those of someone with little or no stress. College students are among those who are intimately familiar with the experience of stress that can be anywhere from worrisome to debilitating. However, in small doses, stress can help students meet daily challenges and increase their motivation. Participants who learn to view stress responses as helpful for their performance can be less stressed-out, less anxious, and more confident on tasks such as taking exams. This is why many doctors, for instance, can perform well under extremely stressful situations. It’s not because they don't experience stress; rather, it is because they view stress as a tool which allows them to focus on a given task.