In June of last year, Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal spoke at the TED Global conference. Her topic was “How to make stress your friend,” and in it she cited numerous studies showing that how our bodies respond to stress – and quite literally whether stress will kill us or not – has more to do with how we think and act in stressful situations than with the amount of stress we encounter.
When we view stress as harmful to our health, it is: over an eight-year period, 43% of people who viewed stress as bad for them and reported having high stress in their lives died. On the other hand, those people who had high stress in their lives but did not view it as harmful had the lowest death rates of any group in the study, including those who had relatively low levels of stress.
It turns out that what’s actually bad for us is how we view stress, not how much stress we have.
Here are three ways to shift your perspective on stress. (more…)