I watched a great TED Talk tonight that, according to the claims of the presenter, could save my life, and maybe yours too.
I’m a pretty stressed out person. I think I actually need to stop typing/saying/thinking this, because what we say and feel over and over becomes reality. So, I’ll rephrase it, and try to remember that for the future: I sometimes experience a lot of stress, perhaps more than the situation warrants. And like many people, I have always thought that stress is BAD for you. It gives you early heart attacks, makes you cranky, probably gives you wrinkles and we allll know how bad those are (to clarify if you can’t read sarcasm, they’re not bad, that’s a superficial society terrified of aging telling you that, but I digress…). Suffice to say, stress = bad for you.
And like many people, who may experience the s-word sometimes, I get doubly afraid because I am also sure my high stress levels will lead to my imminent demise, or at least earlier than Buddha’s. So I’m really thankful that I listened to this TED Talk today that said we have it all wrong.
Now, I didn’t know much about the biology of stress; maybe you did. But I learned that the stress response is in many ways similar to the response we have in times of joy and courage. Stress is actually just our body preparing you to deal with whatever the situation is that is causing you to feel this way. And studies show that those with high stress who don’t think stress is bad for you are actually more inclined to live longer. And, caring for others and being part of your community makes you more resilient! Woah.
Kelly McGonigal, the speaker, does a much better job than I can in explaining it all, so I’ll leave it to you to watch the talk. But basically, we need to change our perspective, our attitude, towards stress. And in doing so, we will actually make ourselves healthier, and better able to deal with more stress. Consider that as you start Monday morning.