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December 11, 2013

Why Stress Can Actually Be Good for Us.

I have said it many times this year: I am so stressed!

We all look at stress like it is a bad thing and truly, it’s no surprise. Every health magazine and self-help talk show is constantly warning us about the negative effects of stress. But can it actually be a good thing?

In this TED talk, Kelly McGonigal, Stanford University psychologist and author of The Willpower Instinct, explains that our perception of stress is what really matters. She explains that our physiological reactions to stress (heart pumping, breathing harder) is actually our bodies preparing us for action. In actuality, the people that tend to believe that this response as all negative have more of stress-related health risks than the people that look at these situations as an opportunity for growth.

Thinking of stressful situations as avenues towards cultivating courage and compassion allows us to see stress in a whole new light. Instead of it being something that happens to us or out of our control, it becomes building blocks to becoming a better person.

The lesson here: we all are going to experience stress. It’s how we react to it and how we look at it that influence what happens next. So the next time you’re feeling frustrated, look at it as an opportunity to learn.

 

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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