Tony Schwarz - Harvard Review article.
"Facing ever more demand, complexity and uncertainty, our initial response is to push ourselves harder and more relentlessly, without taking account of the costs we're incurring.
Physiologically, we move into hyperarousal — flooding our bodies with stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol. It's an automatic response to the experience of threat, and it provides an instant source of energy.
"Allostatic load" is a term coined by the neuroscientist Bruce McEwen that refers to the physiological consequences — most especially on the brain — of chronic exposure to relentless demand. When fight-or-flight hormones circulate in our body for too long, keeping our arousal high, they become toxic — not just physically, but also emotionally and mentally.
The most immediate problem with the fight-or-flight state is that our pre-frontal cortex begins to shut down. We become reactive rather than reflective. We lose precisely what we need most in these complex times: the capacity to think analytically and imaginatively; to embrace nuance and paradox rather than choosing up sides; and to take a long-term perspective rather than making the most expedient choice.
It's not good for us, and it's not good for companies."