Health psychologist and lecturer, Dr. Kelly McGonigal talks stress.
When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.
A study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison tracked 30,000 adults in the United States for eight years and found that people who experienced a high amount of stress in one year’s time had a 43% increased risk of dying.
But that was only the case for the people who believed that stress is harmful. Those who experienced a lot of stress, but viewed stress as a positive force, however, had the lowest risk of dying out of everyone in the study. Including those who had relatively little stress.
When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage.
Harvard University conducted a study where the participants were taught to see their stress response as helpful before being exposed to a social stress test. When participants took the test, they viewed the pounding of their heart as preparation for action and quickened breathing as a way to oxygenate their brain.
The results showed that they were not only less stressed and more confident, but their stress response actually changed. Instead of tightening, their blood vessels stayed relaxed. And their heart responded the same way it does during moments of courage.
Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort.
A 2013 study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology sampled 397 adults, and asked them how much they agreed with the statement, “Taking all things together, I feel my life is meaningful.” The researchers then looked at what distinguished people who strongly agreed with the statement from those who did not.
Surprisingly, those who had experienced the highest number of stressful life events were most likely to consider their lives meaningful. Rather than being a sign that something is wrong, feeling stressed can be a barometer for how engaged people really are in activities and relationships that are personally meaningful.
Find out more about Kelly via her website: kellymcgonigal.com
Or follow her on Twitter: @kellymcgonigal
The Do Lectures is holding a one-day event called ‘Do Stress’. It will deliver insights, future strategies, and will examine the zeitgiest for ‘human based companies’ and how ‘work’ is going to change. And what that means for your business?
There will be 10 talks from entrepreneurs, thought-leaders, change-makers and visionaries. As Dan Pink reminds us all: “Talented people need organisations less than organisations need talented people”.
That is why smart companies are creating human cultures, not corporate ones in order to thrive. How you stay ahead in the future is not the same as what kept you ahead in the past.
It answers the question of who leads the way in look after their people, what are they doing, why is it working? How does culture help your business? How does your purpose? How does the design of your office? Even, how you sit at a computer?
How does a human culture prevent burn out? How does it help you win the talent war? And how, just as importantly, does it help you retain your people too. What perks are the most important?
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The One Day Event — Do Stress
For more information, or to register your interest, head over to our website.
If you haven’t already, check out ‘The Stress Report’, 134 pages. A modern blueprint for a better way of working and living. £12. Out now.
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