How you think about stress matters
Psychologist Kelly McGonigal is devoted to finding out how people can have a happy and healthy life. For years she was telling her patients and friends to create a life without stress. Avoid stress. Stress will make you ill. Stress is the enemy.
When in 2012 a study by the School of Medicine and Public Health from the University of Wisconsin showed that it is not stress itself, but it is the mindset about stress that has a negative effect on your health, Kelly’s perspective on stress changed radically.
This research demonstrated that only the people who believe that stress is bad for you, had a lower expectancy on life. For the people that experienced stress and believed stress was not a bad thing, stress had no impact on their life’s expectancy.
Make stress your friend
Kelly now teaches to see stress as the friend and helps people become better in dealing with stress. One important factor that helps you deal with stress better, is caring for others.
Another study from 2013 by the Psychology Department of the University of Buffalo showed that people who care about others during times of stress are not negatively affected by major stressful events. The reason for this is that when you choose to connect with others under stress, you create resilience.
Stressful career good or bad
When Kelly was asked how to look at the levels of stress in certain careers; that is choose a stress-less or stressful job, her response was:
“Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort.
The best method to making life decisions is to go after what is creating meaning in your life
and trust that you can handle the stress that goes with it”.