Stress harms problem solving too. What to do?

Stress sucks. It can not only disrupt your sleep and compromise your overall well-being, but also reduce your creative and problem-solving abilities. In one study, stressed-out students tasked with problem-solving challenges scored 50 percent lower than their more relaxed peers.

But new research from Carnegie Mellon University provides the first evidence that self-affirmation—the process of identifying and focusing on your most important values, such as family and friends—can protect problem-solving performance from the damaging effects of stress.

Posted by Science Daily:

An emerging set of published studies suggest that a brief self-affirmation activity at the beginning of a school term can boost academic grade-point averages in underperforming kids at the end of the semester. This new work suggests a mechanism for these studies, showing self-affirmation effects on actual problem-solving performance under pressure,” said J. David Creswell, assistant professor of psychology in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. . . .

. . . Specifically, a brief self-affirmation was effective in eliminating the deleterious effects of chronic stress on problem-solving performance, such that chronically stressed self-affirmed participants performed under pressure at the same level as participants with low chronic stress levels.

Read the whole article at Science Daily.

The research was originally reported in PLOS ONE.

(Photo by My Yoga Online.)

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