Causal Rewrite – Lily4Pres

Stress Dictates Performance

Stress and anxiety are prevalent in every human being’s daily life. Terms like stress and anxiety’s use can be varied based on the metrics they are given. The definition of stress we are going to use, noted by Miguel Humara, is “a state that results from the demands that are placed on the individual which require that person to engage in some coping behavior.” Also by Humara, anxiety is defined “as results when the individual doubts his or her ability to cope with the situation that causes him or her stress.” Stress and anxiety stem from uncertainties, deadlines, emotions of frustration, and much more. Having feelings of anxiousness result in pressure on the beholder. Depending on the emotional intelligence of the beholder, the pressure can force production or nothing at all. Stress and anxiety are found to hinder the ability to finish daily tasks with efficiency or even finish these tasks at all.

In order to grasp the damage that stress and anxiety cause, an assessment of where stress and anxiety comes from must come prior. Hans Selye, the father of stress research, proposed that stress was present in any situation that an individual was exposed to a demand. A proposal like this, leaves us with an interesting thought. Everything that imposes a demand, will result in stress. Worry will bring upon stress. A change in scenery will bring upon stress, this could be the change from a household to a classroom. Although it is something that everyone has gone through thousands of times, there is a different expectation in the classroom than the household. This change in expectation puts unseen pressure that results in a rise in stress. We run into these situations every single day. The change from the ramp into the highway to merging onto the interstate. Although we go through it thousands of times, during that moment of merging, there is no doubt a rise in blood pressure as we try to fit into the fast-paced interstate to keep up with the pack. The tension and demand that we endure during events of pressure brings on stress as we know it.

If any situation where an individual is exposed to a demand results in stress, that means positive and negative association both result in stress. Yet there is a massive negative connotation around the word stress. With this notion, we must delve deeper into types of stress. The most common type of stress that every individual encounters is known as acute stress. Acute stress, according to, is the body’s immediate response to a perceived challenge or threat. Examples of acute stress would be the preparation for a job interview, receiving a speeding ticket, or having financial problems. Acute stress will cause inconvenience and potential serious damage if not treated by a healthy mind and high emotional intelligence. If this acute stress persists, it has the ability to transform and evolve into chronic stress. Chronic stress is a repetitive sensation that is seemingly never ending. Chronic stress is seen as a result of traumatic experiences. The umbrella term of traumatic experiences could be years of beratement one may receive from loved ones and/or guardians. The traumatic experience could also be a soldier’s missions in Afghanistan where they saw countless unnecessary circumstances resulting in bloodshed. These traumatic experiences leave a deep cut that will leave long-lasting, problematic issues. The damage that comes along with chronic stress will result in losing the ability to consistently finish daily tasks, some find it difficult to get out of their own bed. The single positive stress we encounter is known as eustress. Eustress is typically associated with adrenaline based situations such as scares and competitive activities. Eustress can be noticed in the thrill of being lost in a carnival maze, or experiencing a roller coaster. Eustress is stress that an individual can benefit from.

Anxiety is a relative to stress. The two are of the same blood. Anxiety results from negative types of stress like acute stress and chronic stress. Anxiety is a feeling of restlessness that is very intense. Typically not experienced from present moments, but rather a moment in anticipation, as noted by K. W. Estes and F. B. Skinner. Anxiety is a normal feeling that majority of people encounter. Anxiety becomes a true issue when it does not relent, this is when disorders and further issues are brought onto the stage. An emotional state is a massive dictator on how strong anxiety will stay relevant.

Stress and anxiety directly effect performance in every scenario, especially on-the-ball activities like athletics. The capability of coping with stress and anxiety separates elites from the rest. Athletes are influenced by stressful situations and anxiety in every match that they compete in. Competitive anxiety is higher for individual sport athletes than team athletes. A major reason for this is that individual sport athletes do not have the reliance on others for assistance. As well as knowing that only one person can be of blame for a bad performance, this results in more weight on the athlete’s shoulders. Through numerous studies, there is proof that cognitive anxiety holds a strong influence on one’s performance. In Humara’s analysis, he notes that athletes who are aware of their anxiety and stress, not only score higher on self-confidence tests, but also perform at a higher efficiency in these stressful situations. The athletes who could not properly control their stress saw worse performances by some margin. Showing that clearly, the worse stress and anxiety is seen, the worse the performance will be. These performances were noted at varying skill levels as well. However, there seems to be a different understanding of anxiety in athletes, some believe it to be debilitative while others see it as facilitative. Those who choose the latter see less anxiety in their sports compared to those who choose the former. The athletes that have control over their emotions have their stress perceived as eustress in comparison to those who could not cope with the situation, interpreting their stress as acute stress.

Stress and anxiety are felt in every individual’s life constantly. The way we manage and cope with these two factors dictate every decision we make. In the topic of athletics, the way athletes control and cope with these factors translate directly to their performance. An athlete, no matter the skill level, if they cannot cope well with the inevitable, they will not be able to perform at their peak. The stress and anxiety that athletes will undoubtedly face will dictate their final performance, whether for the better or for the worse.


Elizabeth Scott, P. D. (2020, August 3). How is stress affecting my health? Verywell Mind.

Estes, W. K., & Skinner, B. F. Some quantitative properties of anxiety. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 29(5), 390–400.

Humara, Miguel The Relationship Between Anxiety and Performance: A Cognitive-Behavioral Perspective Athletic Insight.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, July 29). Identify your stress triggers. Mayo Clinic.

Tan, S. Y., & Yip, A. (2018, April). Hans Selye (1907-1982): Founder of the stress theory. Singapore medical journal.

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8 Responses to Causal Rewrite – Lily4Pres

  1. davidbdale says:

    Your introduction seems to contain a lot of what should have been handled in the Definition Argument, Lily. Did you not define both Stress and Anxiety there?

    Once we get past that, I think any thoughtful reader considering your claims would ask: “Negative outcomes? What about the positive outcomes? Sure, deadlines can be stressful, but without deadlines, would ANYTHING ever get accomplished?”

    Sleepless nights and lots of harsh rhetoric are inevitable components of the US Annual Budget (also the vote to raise the Debt Limit) and lots of other essential legislation (for example), but without that stress, without the constitutional mandate to have a budget, would anyone bother to put together a strict spending plan for the next fiscal year?


    • Lily4Pres says:

      This has proved to be my biggest flaw in my plan to attack my thesis, I wrote my definition argument on the basis of emotional intelligence. I was then going to use stress and anxiety as the cause for bad performances, but I had to define both stress and anxiety to “reach” that point. Then, I planned to use emotional intelligence as the major catalyst in an athlete’s ability to conquer stress and anxiousness to perform at a high level. Thank you for pointing that out to me, I certainly have work to do.


      • davidbdale says:

        My observation aside, Lily, no reasonable professor would ever expect that every essay could be built strictly out of 1000-word arguments of a particular type. If you need more room to define terms in your Causal Argument, by all means do so. Once the parts are joined into a 3000-word essay, readers won’t know they were ever separate.


  2. davidbdale says:

    I love the boldness of your claim, Lily, but I’m not buying it.

    Anything that exposes an individual “to a demand” produces stress. Brilliant. Well said. Bravo, Selye.

    You conclude: Everything causes stress.

    But what you mean is: Everything exposes us “to a demand, which therefore causes stress.” You might have forgotten about the demand part. 🙂

    You need illustrations, but you don’t provide them. “Change of scenery” is not convincing for any reader who does not agree that a change of scenery “makes a demand.” May I suggest:

    We are driving along a local highway that feeds into an interstate freeway. We’ve done this a hundred times, but the merge from a slower-speed, narrower roadway to a hyper-fast massively-laned freeway makes multiple demands on us THAT STRESS US but that BENEFIT BOTH US AND THE FREEWAY DRIVERS by insuring that we don’t merge into their passenger’s seat.

    Our new status as freeway drivers comes with new stress. The pace is faster, there are cars in several lanes who could impact (collide with) us if we’re not careful, and because of our new speed, we need to decide everything faster, more impulsively, and with less margin for error than on the local highway.

    On the other hand, the vista is wider, we can see farther, and the roadway is straighter and broader with fewer obstructions, intersections, and distractions. Whereas before we had to worry about the road 100 feet ahead, here we can steer almost a mile ahead. Our new challenge is staying alert for hours at a stretch (even staying awake can be difficult).

    Now, THAT’S a change of scenery. Do you see how vague claims suddenly become specific and persuasive when our illustrations are visual, vivid, particular?


    • Lily4Pres says:

      Thank you for the lens you see the essay in, I have been far too vague in my writing. I hope this revision is a little bit more vivid to get across my points.


  3. davidbdale says:

    With this notion, we have to delve a little deeper into types of stress.

    You make this promise, Lily. Do you keep it? You’ve hinted at the end of your introduction that stress prohibits us from completing even everyday tasks. Will you prove that?

    If any situation where an individual is exposed to a demand results in stress, that means positive association as well as negative association both result in stress although there is a massive negative connotation around the word stress.

    Nope. You suggest here, instead, that stress can be positive. Somehow.

    The most common type of stress that every individual encounters is known as acute stress. Acute stress, according to, is a short-term reaction after an event occurs that may be considered overwhelming.

    This is negative, surely, But it won’t interfere with everyday tasks because it occurs AFTER events occur. It’s not ANTICIPATORY stress that prevents us from acting.

    If this acute stress does not leave and rather persists, the stress will not only translate to a chronic variety of stress which happens to be the next type of stress, but also will certainly bring along stress’ strongest companion, anxiety.

    Again I hear myself begging for an example. Are you describing the stress of soldiers on the front line of a full-scale combat? Or the stress of a new driver on a highway in her first ice storm? Or the stress of a karaoke singer worrying about hitting the high note in the chorus? Without context, we have no reason either to agree with you or resist. In the absence of either, we stop caring, probably stop reading.

    Chronic stress is a repetitive sensation that is seemingly never ending. Chronic stress is seen commonly as a result of very traumatic experiences. Chronic stress can transpire from childhood trauma and prolonged stressful situations, resulting in the most serious type of stress.

    I’ve forgotten why we needed to know about types of stress, Lily. 400 days in a row of combat in a war zone could certainly seem “never-ending.” So could ten years of daily belittlement, harassment, and neglect from an abusive parent. But your vague examples don’t specify whether “chronic stress” results from “chronic trauma” or whether a single traumatic event (for example) could trigger chronic stress. Again, specific examples would be SO HELPFUL.

    All these negative issues over and over, but stress is not always negative. The positive stress we all feel is known as eustress. Eustress is typically associated with adrenaline based situations such as sports and competitive activities.

    Huh? Where did this come from? Is your Hypothesis so vague that you need to consider BOTH the positive and the negative aspects of stress? Once you decide which aspect to emphasize, save the “other” aspect for your Rebuttal Argument, Lily. Pesky readers like me, who keep bothering you about the benefits of stress, can be dismissed when they get their turn to be refuted as you Worthy Opponents. You don’t have to give them equal time in your advocacy arguments.

    Is this helpful at all, Lily? I’ll have to suspend this feedback for another time while I offer interference to some of your classmates in turn. Respond both with acknowledgment and substantial revisions before you request more feedback, please. Thanks!


    • Lily4Pres says:

      This is beyond helpful, I have never received this level of critique in any academic setting. Pointing out the flaws in my writing is nothing short of beneficial. I tried to rework the paragraph by adding proper examples and a consistent tone, although I’m not too sure I did it very well. I honestly am not too sure if I should add the introduction to eustress as it complicates my thesis. I felt obliged to add it as it is a type of stress we do encounter. Although I wanted to make a point in my final paper that those with high emotional intelligence will issue their stress as eustress while those with lower emotional intelligence will issue their stress as acute stress, making it more detrimental to athletes with lower EI. As I am trying to prove that the mental aspect of athletics can be just as important if not more important than the physical aspect.


      • davidbdale says:

        Honestly, Lily, I had forgotten that your thesis was sports-centered. Out of six paragraphs, you’ve written four before you mention sports in this essay. I know you devoted considerable space to sport in your Definition Argument, now that I’m reminded, but the clear remedy in this case to staying relevant would be to incorporate mentions of sport into every paragraph in this argument as well.

        You’ll probably want to re-craft your illustrations to center them more on high-level athletic competition than war-zone combat, and maybe on graduating from the junior varsity to varsity instead of merging from a local highway onto the freeway.

        There’s no danger of losing focus by adding eustress. I’ve sort of been insisting that you include it in my notes so far. Nothing gets done without stress. Even when we resist the pressure, we probably wouldn’t finish that essay without a deadline, so all pursuits benefit from eustress, and participants with higher Emotional Intelligence no doubt perform better in its presence than those without it.


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