Motivation and Stress
With all of this in mind, how do we avoid the stress tipping point and keep our motivation high?
Reduce decision fatigue
We make thousands of decisions a day, and every single little thought burns juuuuust a bit of mental and physical energy. When we’ve burned too much, we may find ourselves overly stressed. Instead, when we reduce the number of decisions we make in a day, we preserve our energy for the task at hand.
Small goals and celebration
Having a small, bite-sized goal is a great way to introduce just the right amount of stress into the equation. When we have a directive, we have a place to put our attention and energy, two things that involve healthy levels of stress. And when we celebrate the achievement of those goals, we continue the cycle of self-efficacy and motivation.
As the saying goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” When we make space for play—be it movement, time with loved ones, an hour outdoors, a beloved hobby—we clear some of the stagnant stress and make space for all of the downloads we get when we’re moving forward.
Today, consider how you can balance that tipping point between stress and motivation. What sort of stress keeps you motivated, and what sort of stress tips you into paralysis?
Hollon, N. G., Burgeno, L. M., & Phillips, P. E. (2015). Stress effects on the neural substrates of motivated behavior. Nature neuroscience, 18(10), 1405–1412. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.4114