Stress and peak performance just don't mix. While a little stress in the form of deadlines can help focus the mind nicely, at least for some people, ongoing excessive stress erodes performance. Read on to discover why and what you can do.

If you've ever been really stressed -- and especially if it's been going on over a period of time, you may have noticed that you found it harder and harder to deliver the kind of quality of work that you used to take for granted, and that people expected from you.

What in the world is going on? Of course, realizing that your performance is suffering only stresses you even more. And one thing is certain: That won't help your performance.

There are a number of reasons why stress affects your performance:

1) The fight or flight impulse

The fight or flight impulse doesn't exactly support complex thinking ability. A pounding heart and a tendency of most of your blood flowing to your muscles to help you win the fight won't leave much left for your brain. So focusing is put on the back burner. I suppose the idea is that first you have to avoid becoming someone's dinner. It's perfectly sufficient that you remember what you did once it's clear that you're around to tell about it after the situation has passed,

2) Ongoing stress kills brain cells

Indeed -- just like excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs. When will they finally catch on and outlaw stress or stressful job situations? So you're not just imagining things when you notice that you used to be able to think more clearly, remember faces better, and learn stuff more quickly. Your brain really may have suffered.

3) You may not have the energy for all of it

We have only so much energy to spend each day. There are different kinds of energy for different kinds of expenditures, so we might be physically exhausted but still able to do some quality thinking -- or vice versa. But the thing is, once our energy is gone, it's gone, no matter how much day there's left. And so if you spend it all on stressing about things, guess what! It's gone.

What to do about it?

First, realize what's going on, and stop being so hard on yourself. It won't help. Instead, work on two things: find ways to reduce your stress levels, and then look for ways in which you can resolve what's stressing you in the first place.

Author's Bio: 

There's no reason you should have to put up with being stressed and overwhelmed. Get the information you need to effectively get rid of excess stress right now. Just click on the link for Elisabeth Kuhn Ph.D.'s FREE stress tips report at and reclaim your inner calm, and your ability to get quality work done.

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