Most people wince every time they hear the word “stress”.
It’s as if the whole world has been conditioned to respond to stress the same way, by word alone. A habitual thought response that is often more dangerous than the stressor itself.
What you believe matters.
The latest research in psychology examines stress in an entirely new way. Rather than viewing stress as unequivocally bad for one’s health, health psychologists pinpoint belief systems as the moderating variable between stress and well-being.
Stress perception ↔ Health benefits
“Embracing stress is more important than reducing stress according to Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal. Stress can make us stronger, smarter and happier — if we learn how to open our minds to it.” Source: Stanford News
Which is one of many reasons why I love Dr. McGonigal’s TED Talk. She encourages us to think about stress in a whole new empowering way.
Mindset is everything.
Using health psychology research, Dr. McGonigal reveals how perceiving stress as either positive or negative can have a “live or die” impact on individual stress response.
Change your thoughts. Change your stress response.
Believe that stress is good for you (eg., stress focuses attention) and you live longer. Alternatively, believe that stress is bad for you (eg., stress causes heart attacks) and you die sooner.
But don’t take my word for it. You need to experience your own “Aha Moment”.
How to make stress your friend.
In the video below, Dr. McGonigal illustrates the upside of stress, including help seeking behaviour and increased energy. She also backs up her stress positive claims with census records and comprehensive health research.
Hope you enjoy these fresh, new ideas about stress as much as I do!
“Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive.” Source: TED Talks
Helpful resources for adopting a resilience mindset:
- How to Turn Stress into an Asset by Amy Gallow
- Cognitive Reframing and Stress Management by Liz Scott
- Six Ways to Do Cognitive Restructuring by Dr. Alice Boyes
- Reducing Stress by Changing Your Thinking by Mind Tools
- Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life by Dr. Wayne Dyer
- The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good by Kelly McGonigal
Related Post: What's your stress threshold?