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Optimizing stress responses with reappraisal and mindset interventions: an integrated model
Abstract and Figures
Background: The dominant perspective in society is that stress has negative consequences, and not surprisingly, the vast majority of interventions for coping with stress focus on reducing the frequency or severity of stressors. However, the effectiveness of stress attenuation is limited because it is often not possible to avoid stressors, and avoiding or minimizing stress can lead individuals to miss opportunities for performance and growth. Thus, during stressful situations, a more efficacious approach is to optimize stress responses (i.e., promote adaptive, approach-motivated responses). Objectives and Conclusions: In this review, we demonstrate how stress appraisals (e.g., [Jamieson, J. P., Nock, M. K., & Mendes, W. B. (2012). Mind over matter: reappraising arousal improves cardiovascular and cognitive responses to stress. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141(3), 417–422. doi:10.1037/a0025719]) and stress mindsets (e.g., [Crum, A. J., Salovey, P., & Achor, S. (2013). Rethinking stress: The role of mindsets in determining the stress response. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(4), 716–733. doi:10.1037/a0031201]) can be used as regulatory tools to optimize stress responses, facilitate performance, and promote active coping. Respectively, these interventions invite individuals to (a) perceive stress responses as functional and adaptive, and (b) see the opportunity inherent in stress. We then propose a novel integration of reappraisal and mindset models to maximize the utility and effectiveness of stress optimization. Additionally, we discuss future directions with regard to how stress responses unfold over time and between people to impact outcomes in the domains of education, organizations, and clinical science.
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