“The whole world looks different if you just put your hand in your chin and think.” -Kenya Hara
Not only does thinking differently about things change one’s perspective, it can also change our biology as this TED talk from health psychologist Kelly McGonigal demonstrates. McGonigal’s big idea is that by changing how we think about stress, we can become healthier, radically so:
Let me start with the study that made me rethink my whole approach to stress.This study tracked thirty-thousand adults in the United States for eight years and they started by asking people how much stress have you experienced in the last year? They also asked, do you believe that stress is harmful for your health? And then they used public death records to find out who died. Some bad news first, people who experienced a lot of stress in the previous year had a 43% increase risk of dying. But that was only true for the people who also believed that stress is harmful for your health. People who experienced a lot of stress but did not view stress as harmful, were no more likely to die. In fact,, they had the lowest risk of dying of anyone in the study—including people who had relatively little stress. Now the researchers estimated that overs the eight years they were tracking deaths, 182,000 Americans died prematurely, not from stress, but from the belief that stress is bad for you.
[ . . . ]
And this is really what the new science of stress reveals—that how you think about stress matters. So my goal as a health psychologist has changed. I no longer want to get rid of your stress, I want to make you better at stress.
[ . . . ]
…hopefully the next time your heart is pounding from stress, you’re going to remember this talk and you’re going to think to yourself, ‘this is my body helping me rise to this challenge.’ And when you view stress in that way, your body believes you and your stress response becomes healthier.
Watch McGonigal’s talk to learn more about the positive health benefits of reframing stress and learn about its relationship to courage and being social.
put your hand in your chin & rethink …*
Kelly McGonigal: How To Make Stress Your Friend via TED, published September 4, 2013