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Fighting the Blah Using the Yerkes-Dodson Law!

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Sitting on the couch, scrolling social media or maybe you're binging Netflix- if we you can even find anything to watch! Have you moved off this couch in the past hour? In the past 2 hours? All day, maybe minus the occasional bathroom or snack break?

"I'm bored!"

"There is nothing to do!"

"I don't feel like doing anything..."

"It's too ____ to do anything..."

"I'm too broke to do anything!"

With the pandemic in full swing, we might be having this internal struggle more often than usual. As we exhausted all our normal means of entertainment to keep us occupied over the last three years, things you used to enjoy just aren't cutting it anymore.

So... The Yerkes-Dodson Law - What is it & why wont Danielle shut up about it during lock-down?

If you're a friend of mine, have an interest in psychology, or have done any self-reflection studying you may have heard of this before...

Now, first things first, this psychological law is old! Yerkes & Dodson's research for this began around 1908, that is over a decade before our sweet Betty White was brought into this world! The Yerkes-Dodson Curve was a psychological tool created to measure the relationship between the motivation caused by stress surrounding doing a task and the ability to complete a task. They found that stress is a powerful motivator - but only until a certain point! Since that time it has gone from a very basic idea to the underlying concept between a huge number of phenomenon's, and the research is still growing.

As you can see by this wonderful graph, there are kind of three points things fall between:

  1. Low Arousal - You are not being challenged!

  2. Optimal Arousal - You are being challenged the right amount for growth!

  3. High Arousal - You are being overwhelmed by a challenge too big for your situation!

Let's explore what the three levels look like with Jack, Jill & Jane.

Low Arousal on the Curve - Where is the challenge?