Stressors in everyday life and their consequences
In the globalised world of the 21st century, our everyday life consists largely of extremely fast-moving processes. A vast number of external influences have a lasting effect on us. Stressors determine our actions and become a spiral which tirelessly determines our actions. We rush at work, in our leisure time, even on holiday; it must be more and more. Almost everywhere there is pressure to perform. We find it increasingly difficult to pause. We suffer from the consequences.
The decisive component in the effect of stress is the subjective classification of stressors. This determines whether the stressor has a performance-enhancing or performance-inhibiting effect (Lazarus & Launier, 1981). Stress is not a synonym for damage.
The performance of a person is determined to a large extent by how he or she deals with stress. Stress is one of many emotions which we evaluate subjectively. They support our goals and the implementation of the necessary mechanisms that we need to get closer to these goals. They can also sabotage our goals and inhibit us in the implementation of necessary actions to get closer to these goals. According to Hardy and Parfitt (1993), for example, fear can have a certain effect on a person’s performance, both physically and psychologically.
Perception is to blame
“Don’t stress yourself so”, “Just grit your teeth, better times will come again”, who doesn’t know these forms of encouragement. Of course, stress is to be avoided one of the best solutions to deal with it. This is not always possible. Stress has become a part of our self and the one or other workshop for stress management will not solve this problem. Alfermann and Stoll (2010) do not see stress as the result of an objectively measurable stressor, but as the negative attitude of consciousness towards this event. A study by Wall et al. from 2015 shows what effect our perception has on performance: they investigated the consequences of thirst on physiological performance. They found that it is not the physiological consequences of thirst that influence performance. Rather, up to a certain extent, only the emotion of thirst has a performance-reducing effect. The condition is not the reason, but the perception of the condition.
I’ve tried, it doesn’t work
Perceived self-control usually determines whether we can devote enough resources to maintain beneficial behavior. Increased self-control improves the person’s relationship to health-promoting behaviour (Junger & van Kampen, 2010). Especially after previous stress, a cognitive fatigue state develops, which negatively influences our motivation and volition. The psyche behaves like a muscle that can get tired from stressful tasks and sabotage our planned actions (Hofmann, Schmeichel & Baddeley, 2012).
Stocker, Englert and Seiler (2018) find in their work that this process of self-fatigue can be reduced by mindfulness training. This correlates with an improvement in physical and mental performance. Motivation increases and one’s own resources are improved in the face of stressors.
What effect does mindfulness training have?
In order to be able to use the influence of the emotions in a positive way, the topic of mindfulness is increasingly coming to the fore in research. Mindfulness is discussed as a way of directing attention. It helps to experience a moment without judgment and positively influences the well-being and the effect of stressors (Brown, Ryan, & Creswell, 2007). Mindfulness tries to direct attention to the present moment and to face situational sensations without judgment.
A health program that tries to counteract stress with mindfulness has medium to large effect strengths with regard to the effect. A meta-analysis indicates that both physical and mental health and performance benefit from this intervention, as does subjective well-being through improved stress management (Auty, Cope, & Liebling, 2017).
What potential does a more mindful society have?
The effects of mindfulness intervention will continue to gain interest in research in the coming years, as positive effects are shown on the psychological and physical level and people are more efficient when they participate. Concepts that make us more efficient are becoming more and more important to society. More efficient, more conscious, more balanced, less stressful and happier. An opportunity with immense potential. The goal to be more efficient and happier characterizes our motivation to continue to form a more mindful society.
Sounds great, now I just have to start!
Important for the entry into mindfulness is the right support on this path. At the beginning, everyone can take the first steps towards a more mindful future through various media. Through channels such as Youtube helpful introductory videos on mindfulness and meditation can be found. If there is long-term interest in this field, it is useful to work with a qualified teacher. It is important to pay attention to the scientific basis. It is important to work only with reliable and sound methods to ensure that they are optimally supported. It is important to work only with reliable and sound methods to ensure that they are optimally supported. Especially a teacher can recognize your needs through experience and is always available to answer your questions. This is an important factor in achieving long-term progress and maintaining the motivation to participate (Birtwell, Williams, Van Marwijk, Armitage, & Sheffield, 2019)
Mindfulness demonstrably helps
. To deal better with emotions
. Implement health-promoting behavior
. To perceive and accept stressors and possibly change subjective attitudes with the aim of becoming happier and better