How to make Stress your Friend
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, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.
- What belief led people to handle stress better?
People who believed stress wasn’t harmful were able to handle it much better.
- What is oxytocin?
It is a neuro-hormone. It makes you crave physical and social contact. It makes you feel empathy. It is released during stress. It protects your cardiovascular system from the effects of stress and helps heart cells regenerate. All of its physical benefits are enhanced through social interaction.
- How does Kelly McGonical suggest we handle stress?
View it positively. Interact with people. Care for people and your community.
- In what ways does she suggest we see stress positively?
View it as your body preparing itself to help you handle the task ahead of yourself, and as a way for your body, your heart especially, to strengthen itself.
- Write a paragraph summing up the video and commenting whether or not the video changed your beliefs about stress. Why or Why not?
In her TED Talk Kelly McGonigal talks about research that suggests that stress, contrary to popular belief, may actually help make people stronger. She comments on how people who viewed stress as something harmful are much more likely to die a stress-related death, than people who view stress as something that makes you stronger. She suggests that there is a placebo effect involved with stress and its effects. People who believed it to be harmful bore its full effects, but people who believed otherwise suffered minimal effects, as far as the constriction of blood vessels goes. She also comments on oxytocin and how it’s released during stress. Finally, she mentions how socialising and helping your community, caring for people, can help you overcome stress and strengthen your heart. Before watching this video, I had a very negative opinion of stress. I wanted to avoid it at all times. I used to link every health problem I had with stress. I would pretty much blame stress for anything that happened to me. Now it seems to like that is not the case. I’m still a little sceptical about whether or not what she said is completely true, but I’m willing to try it out.