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Kelly McGonigal; The Upside of Stress

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So, what exactly is courage? Is it the absence of fear? No, philosopher Brian Johnson tells us.  It’s feeling the fear…  And then getting on with it.  Doing what needs to be done.   Brian argues this is the mindset to cultivate as we show up in life. Yes, there will be challenges. Expect obstacles, he tells us. Then, get on with it. Feel the fear. Then, do what needs to be done.   Doing so requires…

1: Many of us view our sweaty palms, our need for moral support, or our rumination after a stressful experience as excessive “stress symptoms.” Perhaps we see these signs and believe we aren’t handling stress well. And, we think stress is something we need to recover from. As with so many aspects of stress, we are wrong, Kelly McGonigal writes in her powerful book The Upside of Stress. “The last stage of any stress response is recovery, when…

1: Reva and her husband, Lakshman, took Kelly McGonigal’s New Science of Stress course together.  After the last class, they flew to Australia to see one of their daughters, who was expecting a baby. “Lakshman suffers from heart disease, and one of the symptoms is obstructive sleep apnea,” Reva explains in Kelly’s powerful book The Upside of Stress.  “He needs to use a continuous airway pressure machine on flights to maintain adequate oxygen.  The machine has to be…

1: Imagine participating in a stressful group task where we compete with strangers in a mock job interview and tests of cognitive ability.  The study maximizes two aspects of stress: the pressure to perform and the threat of being compared with others, Kelly McGonigal shares in The Upside of Stress. Immediately afterward, we play the Trust Game. We are given $100. The other player, a total stranger, is given zero dollars. If we choose to not trust the stranger, that…

1: Do we believe all meaningful problems are deeply rooted and difficult to change.” David Yeager, a mindset researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, shares a story which reveals how deep people’s skepticism can run about the power of short interventions to improve people’s lives. This week we’re examining multiple studies which show our mindset, or how we think about something, can have a profound impact on our well-being, longevity, and physical health…

1: Two-thirds of the housekeepers in Stanford Professor Alia Crum’s study believed they weren’t exercising regularly. One-third said they got no exercise at all. “Their bodies reflected this perception,” Kelly McGonigal notes in The Upside of Stress. “The average housekeeper’s blood pressure, waist-to-hip ratio, and body weight were exactly what you’d expect to find if they were truly sedentary,” Their perception was their reality. 2: Four weeks later, Alia checked in with the housekeepers. “Those who had been informed…

1: Do people who have a positive attitude about aging live longer? The short answer? Yes. More than seven years longer, according to researchers at Yale University who followed middle-aged adults for twenty years. “Those who had a positive view of aging in midlife lived an average of 7.6 years longer than those who had a negative view,” writes Kelly McGonigal in her terrific book The Upside of Stress.   “To put that number in perspective, consider…

Yesterday, we looked at the powerful benefits of writing about our values. Let’s put this theory into action. When? Right now. This will take no longer than 12 minutes. Step one: What are your values?  Click on this link and pick your top three values.  Values are simply what you care about.  Your values are what you feel is important and meaningful.  They can be an attitude, a strength, or even a community you care…

Back in the 1990s a group of Stanford students agreed to keep journals over the winter break. “Some were asked to write about their most important values, and how the day’s activities related to those values,” writes Kelly McGonigol in The Upside of Stress.  “Others were asked to write about the good things that happened to them.”  Yesterday, we explored how our mindset drives our behavior. Our mindsets are also changeable. The new field of…

1: Scientist Alia Crum has an unusual track record of high-profile findings. “By changing how people think about an experience, she can change what’s happening in their bodies,” Kelly McGonigal observes in The Upside of Stress.  “Her work gets attention because it shows that our physical reality is more subjective than we believe.”  What is the single idea that motivates Alia’s research? How we think about something can transform its effect on us. Can a three-minute video about the positive…

1: What we’ve taught about stress is wrong, Kelly McGonigal argues in her terrific book The Upside of Stress.  Despite what we’ve been taught and told, the latest science shows stress by itself is not harmful.  However, believing stress is harmful to our health is toxic.  So, how do we transform our view of stress? Are there actions we can take when we feel overwhelmed to direct our stress? The short answer? Yes. Step one is to…

1: It was 2008. The economy was in free fall. “The financial industry is a notoriously stressful place to work,” Kelly McGonigal writes in The Upside of Stress. “One study found that within ten years of entering the industry, 100 percent of investment bankers developed at least one condition associated with burnout, such as insomnia, alcoholism, or depression.” The 2008 economic collapse ratcheted up the pressure: “Financial workers reported significantly greater workplace stress, fear of layoffs,…