Saturday, May 28, 2016

Stressful Versus Non-Stress Situations

I love running across things that can relate and potentially help our pool game, and then I get to share it via this avenue (blog).

At work we were going over the different scenarios that may happen as we give weather briefings.  We give weather briefings to the media, emergency managers, etc., so, we were talking about the differences between how the audience "hears" and receives information based on the weather situation.  If it's a Fall day with no weather, versus a large hurricane about to make landfall, the presenter should be aware of the stress levels of the audience, which will effect the way we deliver information and how they receive it.

This all boils down to stress levels and how people receive information during different stressful times.  I think this ties directly into competing, so I wanted to share.

If we are in a high-pressure situation when competing, our stress levels may go up.  And if we haven't had a lot of experience in knowing how to handle the current racing adrenaline or nerves, then we kind of falter.

I have written before how I have test anxiety, so competing in a high-stakes-to-me title tournament, I would always fall apart.  It took YEARS to figure out how to resolve my "test anxiety" so that I could finally perform well and win.

So, I would compare my anxiety to a high stress level.  Let's see what I found out recently (click graphic to enlarge):

As stress levels rise in emergencies, the amount of information that people can process decreases.

In low-stress situations, people can process an average of seven messages at a time, but in high-stress this drops to an average of three. In low-stress situations, people can process things in linear and chronological order, but in high-stress situations, it is important to start with the most important impacts first. Priority order is key.

In low-stress situations, we process information at seventh or eighth grade level, while in high-stress situations, that drops by four grade levels!  So, we are taught to keep things as simple as possible without watering down the main points, during high-stress situations.

So, if you think about the difference in how people handle information during high stress situations, it makes sense when you picture yourself practicing and you can't miss.  But, when you play in a big tournament and all of a sudden you miss more, or can't think clearly, that can be related to stress and anxiety.

Not sure this info will help you play better in stressful situations, but what it should do is make you realize that indeed we do process information differently from a calm practice situation to a high-stress match for your team or trying to make your way to the finals in a big tournament.

(for tips I have shared before on how to handle stress, try this link.)

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