The stress-strain model can be used to describe a person’s ability to withstand the level of stress in a given situation. The stress-strain model actually originally stems from the construction world, and is used to describe the relationship between how much stress a material (for example concrete) can withstand before it breaks. The model is very similar to models describing the relationship between work pressure and performance, which is commonly used in the field of organizational psychology.

On the far left, the model shows the lowest level of stress. If you find yourself in that area of the model, it means that you have no challenges at all and that nothing is required of you. This will often mean that you lack change and challenge, and feel bored in your everyday life.

On the other hand, if you find yourself on the far right side of the model, you are overloaded. There are far too many challenges and demands, and you feel overwhelmed. This is also where the curve ‘breaks’ and we lose the ability to cope with our challenges.

The middle is where we should be most of the time. This is where we experience some amount of stress and challenges, but where we never get to a point where we feel completely incapable of handling them. It is typically here that we feel at our best because we are neither bored nor overwhelmed.

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