We’ve all been told that stress is extremely bad for us, especially long-term stress. The high blood pressure, the rapid breathing, the clammy hands, the shot of adrenaline that can leave us shaking in its wake. All these things are really really bad for us, or so we’ve been told. I recently watched Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk, and she made me rethink what I thought I knew about stress.
In the studies that McGonigal talks about, subjects were simply informed that stress was actually good for them. That’s all. They believed that contrary to what they thought they knew, stress was good for them. The blood pumping through their veins was so they could think better; the adrenaline was getting them ready to respond to what was going on around them. Once these subjects really believed this, their bodies reactions to stress changed. So, if we believe that stress is bad for us, we can die from it. If we believe that it’s not bad for our health, we don’t die from it. Our beliefs can change our bodies reactions, making me think of the Buddhist teaching that we are what we think. Our body is a system, so if we can change our thinking about stress, we can change our reactions to it. This actually gives me a great deal of hope. I really can control my reactions, and so can you. Make sure you watch the video, since McGonigal has fantastic things to say, and then work on changing your thinking. You may just save your own life.