The September/October 2011 edition of Scientific American Mind
features two excellent articles on stress:
Splintered by Stress
tells us that pressure is good for our learning performance,
but when it becomes too great, it will reduce performance significantly.
Fight the Frazzled Mind
suggests that stress prevention beats stress cure
Neither is a radical insight in the sense that the word ï¿½radicalï¿½ has come to be used: but both are absolutely
radical in the true sense of the word: fundamental.ï¿½ They are well worth a read if you can pick up a copy.
(The word radical, by the way, comes from the Latin word ï¿½radixï¿½ meaning root, as in radish.)
Thereï¿½s more to life
But here is a little snippet of research I garnered from an earlier edition
(September/October 2010).ï¿½ Sci Am reported on a paper called
Money Giveth, Money Taketh Away: The Dual Effect of Wealth on Happiness,
in the journal Psychological Science.
In this paper, Jordi Quoidbach and his colleagues (Elizabeth W. Dunn, K.V. Petrides
and Moï¿½ra Mikolajczak) report on two experiments.ï¿½ In each experiment, they divided a
adults into two randomly selected groups.
One of the ways we can deal with stress is to savour the good things in life.
Our ability to savour life experiences is a predictor of our happiness.
What Quoidbach and his co-workers wanted to find out was whether money impairs our ability to do this.
In each experiment, one group was first shown a picture of a stack of money.ï¿½ The other group was
shown the same picture, but it had ben blurred to the point where it was impossible to recognise the image.
My versions are below.
In the first experiment, after being exposed to the image, the subjects were given tests to measure their
ability to savour experiences.ï¿½ The group shown the money scored lower: the group shown the blurred
image scored higher.
In the second experiment, observers timed how long subjects savoured a piece of chocolate.
On average, those shown the blurred image held the chocolate in their mouth for 45 seconds, against
32 seconds for the participants who had seen the money.ï¿½ A second observation does not surprise me at all:
women savoured the chocolate for longer than the men.
You may want to focus on money as a means to get rewards in life, but when you are off to enjoy your break,
your meal, or your holiday, put all thoughts of money out of your mind and savour the experience for
all it can offer you.
My Book and Seminars
If you want a good primer on dealing with stress,
Brilliant Stress Management is great start,
with further references throughout.
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