Stress is known to affect our mental abilities. Exactly how each individual will be affected by stressors will depend on the stressors that a person is experiencing and that person’s mental abilities.
Our cognitive function encompasses multiple mental abilities such as learning, thinking, reasoning, remembering, problem-solving, decision making and attention. Given the strong evidence that links an individual’s cognitive capacity with job performance, it is essential to understand and overcome how stress impacts our mental abilities.
While mild levels of stress can have a positive effect on our performance. We know that in general, the impact of high acute or sustained pressure impairs performance. Research has shown that acute stress, such as the stress that many are experiencing at the moment can have a number of effects on our mental abilities.
Effects Of Stress On Our Mental Abilities
Effect Of Stress On Our Behaviours
4 Ways To Communicate With People Experiencing Acute Stress
1. KEEP YOUR MESSAGES SIMPLE
If you need to share information, make sure you have the bullet points of what needs to be understood upfront. You can always attach the detailed material later.
2. USE CREDIBLE SOURCES
This will help you challenge people’s ideas so that they can take on new perspectives. Look for evidence to support your point of view. Do check your facts.
3. REGULARLY COMMUNICATE
Consistent messages: this will help people process the information they need to take on board.
4. RELEASE ACCURATE MESSAGES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
This will help shape people’s thinking based on facts rather than them filling in the gaps with information from less trusted source
Over the coming weeks, I will cover each of these points in more detail to provide support during this Coronavirus Pandemic. Feel free to contact me if there is a particular topic you’d like me to write on.
In response to these difficult times, I’ve made available two coaching hours a week to support two Leaders and their teams facing crises at no cost. Contact me on a first-come, first-served basis if you are interested.
- Hunter, J., 1986. Cognitive ability, cognitive aptitudes, job knowledge, and job performance. Journal of Vocational Behaviour, [online] 29(3), pp.340-362. Available at: <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0001879186900138> [Accessed 27 April 2020].
- Mendl, M., 1999. Performing under pressure: stress and cognitive function. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, [online] 65(3), pp.221-244. Available at: <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S016815919900088X> [Accessed 27 April 2020].
- CERC: Psychology Of A Crisis. [ebook] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control Prevention. Available at: <https://emergency.cdc.gov/cerc/ppt/CERC_Psychology_of_a_Crisis.pdf> [Accessed 17 April 2020].
- Porcelli, A. and Delgado, M., 2017. Stress and decision making: effects on valuation, learning, and risk-taking. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, [online] 14, pp.33-39. Available at: <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352154616301905> [Accessed 27 April 2020].
- Association for Psychological Science – APS. 2020. Stress Changes How People Make Decisions. [online] Available at: <https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/stress-changes-how-people-make-decisions.html> [Accessed 27 April 2020].
- Humanstress.ca. 2020. Acute Vs. Chronic Stress – CESH / CSHS. [online] Available at: <https://humanstress.ca/stress/understand-your-stress/acute-vs-chronic-stress/> [Accessed 27 April 2020].
- Sänger, J., Bechtold, L., Schoofs, D., Blaszkewicz, M. and Wascher, E., 2014. The influence of acute stress on attention mechanisms and its electrophysiological correlates. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8. Available at: <https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00353/full> [Accessed 27 April 2020].
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