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. Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive. If you believe that your body is energized and preparing you to take action, your physical stress response changes, with no negative effect on your heart. Watch this TED talk, in which McGonigal reveals a surprising mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.


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  • Vickie

    At age 68 have carried too much stress all of my life, gives me hope.

  • Barbara

    the whole video made perfect sense to me. I am a Christian , and I really believe that in helping others we somehow relieve our own stressors. I love the way she broke it down.

  • Betty

    As a yoga teacher I so believe that you must except stress as your friend and not enemy...when faced with stress it makes you find the courage and strength in yourself that you may not have known you had...the most stressful times of my life and proved to me that I can be who I want to be and conquer what I need to conquer. thank you for this video

  • Amy

    'Trust yourself to handle life challenges and know you don't have to handle them alone'

  • vijay garodia

    " Our thoughts and attitude define everything including STRESS and could covert STRESS into opportuinity to grow in courage and empathy"

  • Deb

    I wonder if there is a difference between chronic or long term stress versus repeated short term stress?

  • Floyd

    "Chasing meaning is more important than avoiding discomfort." Thank you.

  • Gary A. Crain

    This truly started to change my thinking and attitude about what stress is and how it affects your body. Thank you, for this presentation as I allow stress to sometimes take over my body and I just react negatively without using the stress to my benefit.

  • Rodgers

    There is a very strong in believing on something, "If i believe that my body is energized and preparing me to take an action, my physical stress response changes, with no negative effect on my heart" I like this.

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    Human connection! Caring creates resilience! I've witnessed this especially in developing countries where even in the midst of so many challenges there is such resilience through how they care for each other. As someone who offers Free Hugs worldwide, I totally understand how awesome Oxytocin is! Especially when Hugging Homeless. In helping someone else, we help ourselves.

  • Jim

    Our belief about stress effect how stress effects us. Our attitude and ways of thinking are everything. Cool, thanks.

  • Sarah

    Wonderful. Stress can create joy and courage.

  • JohnPeter

    Very useful input.

  • BeiYin

    Yes indeed, it is possible to make 'Stress Your Friend' in a real creative way! The basic condition for this is, that one is conscious at the moment when the stress is caused, by being aware of ones reactions on the different levels of ones system: Body, mind and emotions. Then asking oneself, why one is reacting. Having accepted and integrated the information, that stress is caused, when conditions, situations and happenings are NOT what one wants them to be and so not fulfilling ones expectations. The next creative step would be, to be aware, what ones expectations are and the next, what has caused these expectations. Also knowing, that we are all conditioned by our education and from the common established social mindset, one might realize, that the real reason comes from there and NOT from the condition one encounters and that is forcing ones automatic reaction. So one can realize, that one is traped in ones own mindset like wearing a straitjacket, but NOT being aware of it at all! Now ones stress reaction gives the oportunity to find out about it and then one has the option, to hold on this established program or not, being able to *free* oneself. In that way the 'stress' can help us to *free* oneself and so of course is ones *friend*!

  • BeiYin

    There are more and more survival tricks available, the offered one to see 'stress' as positive seems to be the most sophisticated, when limiting the symptom stress just to body reactions. Instead of asking about the *real* reason. Not just the reason that conditions and happenings are NOT what one wants these to be, but the *root* reason why one is reacting negatively and is producing and accumulating STRESS! Isn't it astonishing that nobody is asking? Why not? Because that would need to question oneself and ones established mindset...

  • Sis Asha

    Stress is inflicting violence on yourself. It is never good. There are other peaceful ways to achieve your goals in life.

  • Linda Long, RN

    Showing once again how the human mind can change poison into medicine. Thank you for a very interesting talk.

  • Leslie

    I'd love to know how far along in her research Kelly McGonigal thinks she is. What does she think she's proven for sure? About what is she still uncertain? What does she think she still scarcely understands, and has she yet reached a stage in thinking about these unknowns where she feels confident she can plan research to address them?

  • Cassandra

    Welcome the challenge, get up and show up each day. Don't freak out and you will survive and be better for it!

  • ann

    I am doing a meditation this coming year on "courage" and it is interesting that you refer to it as mechanism?

  • Kamal Benhalim

    Thank you for a great presentation I will share this information every time I have a chance...Knowledge is great

  • Page 1

  • Learn more about Kelly McGonigal and her research into practical strategies for health, happiness, and personal success.
  • This research article on women's reaction to stress highlights McGonigal's point that "stress makes you social." 
  • Consider re-thinking a long-held belief.  What is the best mistake you've ever made?

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