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How to Use Stress to Your Advantage

Nervous energy is a performance enhancer if you know how to use it.

Use Stress to: Be Better at Sports

Any other weekend, you’d sink this particular putt, no problem. But when you hit the links with your boss, it’s like the hole is in a different zip code. According to research from the Technical University of Munich, this is because stress causes us to assess challenges with the left hemisphere of our brain, which manages analytical thinking, as opposed to the right, which handles spatial perception and creativity. Try “hemispheric priming,” or warming up the other side of your brain, which can give you a competitive edge. Bounce a golf ball with your left hand before the big putt. The study, published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, found that right-handed athletes performed better under pressure if they first squeezed a ball in their left hand, which the researchers say activates the right side of the brain.

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