“The latest science reveals that stress can make you smarter, stronger and more successful.”
Stress is harmful only if you believe it is harmful. If you have a positive view of stress you can live a happier and healthier life. You can be more productive and more confident.
“One of the benefits of embracing stress is that you find the strength to pursue goals and endure experiences that are difficult but meaningful.”
Most of the harm associated with stress may be a result of you trying to avoid it.
“Many of the negative outcomes we associate with stress may actually be the consequence of trying to avoid it.”
“The best way to manage stress isn’t to reduce or avoid it, but rather to rethink and even embrace it.”
“Whatever the sensations of stress are, worry less about trying to make them go away, and focus more on what you are going to do with the energy, strength and drive that stress gives you.”
Changing your mind-set about stress is a relatively simple process consisting of 3 parts.
“Learn the new point of view”
Think about a new point of view or a plan and present or talk about it with an audience or a friend.
“Do an exercise that encourages you to adopt the mind-set”
Turn your plan into action such as writing a journal or exercising.
“Share the idea with others”
Share what you have learned in managing your stress. Tell people about how you learned a new point of view and how you physically turned those plans into actions.
People don’t share any “universal” physical response to stressors.
“Unlike what most people believe, there is no one uniform physical stress response that is triggered by all stressful situations.”
“Adopting a more positive view of stress reduces what we usually think of as stress-related problems and helps people thrive under high levels of stress.”
You can learn how to activate particular responses to stress. Some stress responses you may encounter can foster energy, confidence and connection to others.
“Feeling burdened rather than uplifted by everyday duties is more a mind-set than a measure of what is going on in your life.”
“In many ways, the stress response is your best ally during difficult moments – a resource to rely on rather than an enemy to vanquish.”
You always associate stress with something that’s important to you.
“Stress is what arises when something you care about is at stake.
Dealing with stress is a necessary step in finding meaning in life.
“Choosing to view anxiety as excitement, energy or motivation can help you perform to your full potential.”
Connecting and helping others is one of the best ways to managing stress.
“Embracing stress can make you feel more empowered in the face of challenges.”
“We cannot always control the stress in our lives, but we can choose our relationship to it.”
May 10, 2016
Kelly McGonigal, PhD, is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, and the author of the international bestseller The Willpower Instinct (Avery, 2011). As a leader in the field of "science help," McGonigal is passionate about translating cutting-edge research from psychology, neuroscience, and medicine into practical strategies for health, happiness, and personal success.
McGonigal has taught for a wide range of programs at Stanford University, including the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Business, and Stanford Continuing Studies, where her popular public courses include "The Science of Willpower" and "How to Think Like a Psychologist." She has received Stanford's highest teaching honor, the Walter J. Gores award, for her undergraduate psychology teaching. Through her work with the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, she studies methods for training mindfulness, empathy, and compassion. Her research has appeared in such journals as Motivation and Emotion, the Journal of Happiness Studies, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.