Stress Management, part #5

Herbert Benson in his Wellness Book references the work of Robert Yerkes and John Dodson of Harvard University, who showed that increases in stress and anxiety produce increases in performance and efficiency, but not indefinitely. And if the increases in stress and anxiety are hiked more and more past a certain point, performance and efficiency decline or are even diminished significantly.

The idea is to develop positive approaches to stress in order to increase the chances to adapt better to it. Susanne Kobasa, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, has shown that some persons are less vulnerable to stress–they have stress-hardy characteristics.

Benson lists four of these stress hardy traits–what he called the Four C’s: control, challenge, commitment, and closeness. Here are elements of stress-hardy people:

Control–the ability to make lasting personal choices and influence personal environment

Challenge–to see stressors as an opportunity to advance something good or for personal growth

Commitment–to feel deeply and personally involved despite the stress-producing activity, enough to keep interested and curious about the activities and the people

Closeness–to have warm relationships and social support

Benson also references the work of Dr Barrie Grieff, who was a psychiatrist at the Harvard Business School. Grieff came up with the Five L’s of Success, which incidentally also help in managing stress.

The Five L’s are: Learn, Labor, Love, Laugh, and Let go. Here they


Learn–be open to new experiences, and absorb new information every day

Labor–work at something that brings meaning to life and satisfaction

 Love–be able to give, recognize others, and receive

 Laugh–chuckle with yourself and others

 Let Go–don’t become too absorbed with things that are outside of your control

Grieff believes that these five things will enable one to be better at managing stress. Maybe they are worth a try. In short–the Four C’s and the Five L’s.


SOURCE: Herbert Benson, M.D. and Eileen Stuart, The Wellness Book.

(New York: Fireside Book, 1992)



Quote of the Week

“Life’s most urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”

 -Martin Luther King, Jr , (1929-1968),  American civil-rights leader


Contributed by John P.

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