Kelly McGonigal spent many years telling people that stress was dangerous, but it turns out that research shows that stress is only dangerous to people who think it is bad, dangerous, or harmful.
It turns out that people really can thrive on pressure.
Dr. McGonigal made this video to help correct some of the old perceptions.
Now, why am I writing about this? Because I’ve never been great at handling pressure and stress. I thought that was hard-wired, unchangeable, but apparently changing your attitude toward stress can help change its effects on you.
So what now?
Dr. McGonigal showed us one immediate, easy to use stress intervention. Whenever you feel stressed, tell yourself “My body is preparing me to meet this challenge. My heat is beating harder and my lungs are pumping faster to get more oxygen to my body and brain.“
Tell yourself that until your believe it and you can eliminate the cardiovascular dangers of stress (mainly blood vessel constriction) and make yourself less flustered and more energized.
Additionally, connecting with others, especially caring for others, makes us more resilient to stress. Community and compassion can actually nullify the health damages of major life events.
Also, “chasing meaning is better than trying to avoid discomfort.”
I’m going to try to our these into action. I’ll report back later and let you know how it goes.