Is stress bad or good for you? Well, it depends. It depends on your belief about it. Check out this cool TED talk that Kelly McGonigal did about the value of making stress your friend.
Kelly says she used to think of stress as the enemy. Yet the science shows that the biological response to stress is radically different based on our belief about it. Here we see mental training impacting our lives and the importance of continually working on our mental game. In other words, what we think is accurate can be totally incorrect.
Here are some points from the talk. Watch the video also to gain its full value. Kelly is a great presenter.
- When we believe stress is bad, our blood vessels contract.
- When we believe stress is good, they don’t contract. They stay relaxed.
- Don’t get rid of stress; get better at working with it.
- When you believe this way, your body helps you process the stress.
- One of the most underappreciated aspects of the stress response is that stress makes you social.
- Oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” finetunes your brain’s social instincts, to strengthen relationships. It’s as much a part of the stress response as adrenaline is.
- When life is difficult, your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you.
- Caring creates resilience.
- How you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress.
- When you see stress as helpful, you create the biology of courage.
- Stress gives us access to our hearts.
- When you choose to see stress this way, you’re not just getting better at stress, you’re actually making a profound statement. You’re saying you trust yourself to handle life’s challenges.
I really like this last point. Foundational to mental training is trusting how life unfolds. Changing your belief about stress helps you embrace it as opportunities to find joy and meaning in life.
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I think your last point of is true for anything in life ‘Changing your belief about stress helps you embrace it as opportunities to find joy and meaning in life.’
I think it goes into the warrior’s way of radical acceptance too. I believe that anything in life has something to teach us. If we can accept what life presents us with, I think it creates an opportunity to learn, something only this moment in time can teach us. Changing the belief about stressful experiences creates this opportunity to see. This is much like changing our beliefs about stress.
Thank you for this lesson. I learned that most of the stress I experience, and I experience stress a lot, I reject because I thought it shouldn’t be there but realised now how grateful I can be to my body helping me through tough moments.
You’re welcome Doris. And, remember to breath and relax to process that stress. 🙂 a
The first point how stress registers differently based on perspective is quite profound. How many times have we heard,” attitude is everything”? Embracing the tension strengthens physical and mental resilience. Thanks for sharing.
Yes Harper. Your point emphasizes why mental training is so important…and why we’re committed to teaching it to our community and the world. Thanks for sharing your perspective. a