What is the stress-is-enhancing mindset developed by Dr. Alia Crum?


The "stress-is-enhancing" mindset, developed by Dr. , involves viewing stress not as a purely negative experience but as an opportunity for growth, learning, and improved performance. This mindset does not mean that stress is inherently good, rather it recognizes the potential for the challenges and adversity associated with stress to lead to beneficial outcomes in cognition, health, performance, and well-being. It involves acknowledging stress, welcoming it as an indicator of something we care about, and using the stress response to achieve our goals.

The mindset operates through several pathways:

  1. It changes our motivation when faced with stress, prompting us not to avoid stress but to leverage it for positive results.
  2. It can impact our affect around stress, allowing for more positive experiences even during stress.
  3. It might even influence physiology, leading to a more moderate cortisol response and increased levels of DHEA in response to stress.

Dr. Crum has outlined a three-step process to adopt this mindset:

  1. Acknowledge and own the stress you feel.
  2. Welcome the stress because it reflects things you care about.
  3. Utilize the stress response to achieve the goals tied to those cares or values 1 2 3 4 5.

    Embracing Stress

    Alia and Andrew discuss the benefits of adopting a stress-enhancing mindset, acknowledging and welcoming stress, and utilizing the stress response to achieve goals. They explain how stress can be used as a superpower to increase visual attention, parse time more finely, and process information faster. The stress response is a non-specific response, and it's how we channel it that matters.

    Huberman Lab

    Dr. Alia Crum: Science of Mindsets for Health & Performance | Huberman Lab Podcast #56

How can I better assess and analyze my errors?


To better assess and analyze your errors, you should adopt the approach of focusing on the actions (verbs) that led to the errors, rather than applying negative labels to yourself or the situation. suggests concentrating on the efforts and problem-solving processes that preceded the mistake, such as engaging with problem sets after a failed exam or discussing with others to understand different outcomes. This approach emphasizes learning from the event.

Additionally, it's important not to rush into error analysis immediately after a mistake, especially if you're caught up in an emotional response. Sometimes, taking a day or two to allow emotions to settle before you can effectively analyze your errors is necessary. By concentrating on the behaviors and decisions involved in both successful and unsuccessful outcomes, you'll be more analytical and constructive in improving future performance. Focus on actions, problem solving, and persistence rather than dwelling on negative emotions or labels associated with the errors 1 2.

The Power of Verbs

Discover the importance of using verbs instead of labels when giving feedback or evaluating performance. Learn how this simple shift in language can enhance motivation and improve future outcomes.

Huberman Lab

How to Enhance Performance & Learning by Applying a Growth Mindset | Huberman Lab Podcast