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Can Stress Actually be Good for You?

This is a very interesting video that upends the idea that stress is always harmful. Terrifyingly articulate Stanford psychology professor Kelly McGonigal offers a convincing argument that stress isn't what hurts us, it's actually what we believe about the stress that is damaging.

Change your mind about stress and you change your body's response to it.

So, here it is in a nutshell. When people are stressed, there are physical changes: increased heart rate, sweating, breathing fast, etc. If these are interpreted as anxiety or poor coping skills, the heart rate will in fact go up higher and blood vessels will constrict...not a healthy situation.

But when people are told that these symptoms are actually their body's way of getting energized

to help them rise to the occasion, their heart rate goes up but their blood vessels do not constrict. McGonical says that physiologically, this is what the body looks like in moments of joy and courage!

What you think about stress matters. Your body totally believes you when you tell it that it is helping you meet a challenge, and your stress response gets healthier!

In fact, people who had high stress levels and had this attitude had more positive outcomes than those without stress at all!

I have some questions about all this, but was very intrigued and moved by the power of our minds, and beliefs to effect our physiology. There is a lot more to her talk, but she articulates it far better than I. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to listen to it in it's entirety...Let me know if it changes your attitude towards stress!

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