Reflecting on meaningful values provides biological and psychological protection from the adverse effects of stress, UCLA psychologists report in the November issue of the journal Psychological Science.
"Our study shows that reflection on personal values can buffer people from the effects of stress, but the implications are broader than that," said Shelley E. Taylor, UCLA distinguished professor of psychology, and an expert in the field of stress and health. "Any positive self-affirmation can act as a buffer against stressful events; that can include values, personal relationships and qualities that are a source of pride."
In the study, 80 UCLA undergraduates completed stressful tasks. They delivered five-minute speeches about their qualifications for an office job in front of "speech evaluators" trained to be non expressive, who would coldly tell them during pauses, "You still have time remaining. Please continue." After a short break, they were instructed to subtract 13 from 2,083 under harassing conditions. They were told to go faster and at each mistake, they were told, "That is incorrect. Please start over from 2,083."
Stuart Wolpert | EurekAlert!
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