The ability to engage in goal-directed behavior despite exposure to stress is critical to resilience. Questions of how stress can impair or improve behavioral functioning are important in diverse settings, from athletic competitions to academic testing.
Controllability is a key factor in the impact of stress on behavior: learning how to control stressors buffers people from the negative effects of stress on subsequent cognitively demanding tasks. In addition, the impact of stress on cognitive functioning depends on an individual’s response to stressors: moderate responses to stress can lead to improved performance while extreme (high or low) responses can lead to impaired performance. Stress is part of life. Pursuing goals despite exposure to stressors, or better yet, showing enhanced functioning in response to stress, are abilities that are fundamental to survival and resilience.
For a broad range of daily goals, it is critical to know what type of stress can help or harm behavioral functioning. Musical concerts, athletic competitions, and academic testing are all settings in which stress may either impair performance or fuel pursuit of goals. To perform optimally, healthy humans must expose themselves to the types of stress that promote the most enhanced functioning possible. The effects of stress on cognitive functions, specifically, may mediate the helpful and harmful effects of stress in complex domains. Stress has yielded evidence for both positive and negative effects of stress and stress hormones on cognitive functions.
Working memory, a function thought to be very important for executive function , is particularly sensitive to such effects. Stress exposure can lead to improved performance and the same types of stress exposure can cause impaired performance. Controllability of stressors is also a key factor that influences how stress affects behavioral performance.
In India, I personally feel, there is low controllability which is a characteristic of stress that has been explored in “learned helplessness”. We notice people exposed to equivalent stress but they differ on whether or not it is possible to learn to control stressors. Learned helplessness research has provided evidence for the harmful effects of exposure to uncontrollable stress, as well as the protective effects of having behavioral control over stressors. Specifically, while exposure to uncontrollable stress leads to passivity, negative affect, and disrupted performance on subsequent cognitively demanding tasks, being able to learn how to behaviorally control the same stressor buffers you from these negative effects. Controllability of, and individual responses to, stressors influence the effects of stress exposure on cognitive and behavioral functioning.
Hope and hopelessness are two sides of the same coin. A person going through feelings of hopelessness can easily overcome it with cognitive thinking, healing, medication, behavioral therapy and positive attitude. In this article, we will quickly go through the reasons for feeling hopelessness and ways to come out of the such a mental state.
Getting hope back in life:
Overcoming the feeling of being doomed can be easily achieved by studying the facts. A patient receiving a fatal diagnosis from a doctor always has the option to study further about the diagnosis and take multiple consultations instead of giving in.
The feeling of powerlessness mostly happens because of labeling, positive discounting and personalization. An individual suffering from self-blame leading to discounting the positive aspects of his own self can practice reattribution. This is nothing but studying the reasons of negative emotions and carefully analyzing them.
Labeling, on the other hand, can be countered by mastering certain skill sets which an individual is bad at. For instance, if a person is often called as stupid, he should analyze why is he labeled so. Post the analysis he or she can work on getting that one thing right for which he has been labeled. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a psychologist.