TED Talk on Stress by Kelly McGonigal - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  662 Words
Date:  2022-11-22


Being a health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal turned stress into an enemy for ten years. She taught people that stress makes people sick by increasing chances of developing various health problems, ranging from common cold to cardiovascular health problems. However, she changes her mind about how she viewed stress after access to a research venture that tracked thirty thousand Americans revealed having a lot of stress increases the risk of dying by up to 43 percent. However, the stress also revealed that individuals who experienced a lot of stress but did not view stress as harmful had reduced risk of dying (McGonigal, 2013). According to the same study up to 182, 000 people died from merely believing that stress is bad for them. This makes stress an issue of concern as it becomes the fifteenth biggest cause of death in the United States of America going by the outcome of the research.

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Stress comes when people are exposed to situations that discourage them or give them discouraging non-verbal feedback. That may demoralize them and cause changes such as the increased rate at which the heart pounds and breaking into a sweat; such physical changes are normally interpreted as signs of failure to cope well with stress. When people viewed such physical changes as signs that the body was energized to meet such challenges, then the result would be different. People can think of the responses to stress as helpful (McGonigal, 2013). For instance, ponding heart prepares one for action and that breathing faster is not a problem, but a way that more oxygen is pumped into the brain, then stress would be less harmful to people. In fact, in that case, stress would be helpful for people as showing the physical signs of the same would increase their performance, make them less anxious, less stressed out, and more confident.

Typical stress responses include increased heart rate and constricted blood vessels, which is the reason why chronic stress leads to cardiovascular disease. However, if people viewed stress as helpful, then their blood vessels remain relaxed and less likely to develop cardiovascular disease (McGonigal, 2013). For that reason, Kelly's goal is no longer to help people get rid of stress but to be better at stress. This can be achieved when one views his or her body as rising to the challenge whenever they are stressed out. When one does that, the body believes leading to a healthier response to stress. Stress also makes people social, for instance, oxytocin, which is a stress hormone, makes people crave for physical contact with the people they care about such as the family members. When one is stressed out, and the nudging response is to share the experience with someone, then it is regarded as making people social. Besides, stress makes people want to be surrounded by people they care about (McGonigal, 2013). Since a compassionate heart finds joy and stress, gives people access to their hearts, one can trust in their ability to handle challenges in life and that they do not have to face such challenges alone.

Before now, I viewed stress, as a cause of health problem that needs to be avoided. The physical stress signs such as increased heart rate and sweating made me feel like I was about to develop dangerous diseases that would lead to my death. This scared me and made me lose hope in life. However, in the future, I will better cope with stress by first recognizing the resultant physical changes in my body and responding to them in a way that befits me. For instance, appreciating that my body responds naturally to my challenges. I would think positively of stress as something that energizes me and makes me more tuned to succeed in achieving my life's goals. Besides, it will make me more compassionate about my family and friends.


McGonigal, K. (2013). How to Make Stress Your Friend [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend

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TED Talk on Stress by Kelly McGonigal - Essay Sample. (2022, Nov 22). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/ted-talk-on-stress-by-kelly-mcgonigal-essay-sample

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