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I have a confession to make. For years I have been telling people "Stress makes you sick."
But I have changed my mind about stress. I wanna change yours.
Let me start with the study that tracked 30,000 adults in the United States for 8 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?"
People who experienced a lot of stress in the previous year had a 43% increased 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, they had the lowest risk of dying as anyone in the study.
182,000 Americans died prematurely from the belief that stress is bad for you.
I want you all to pretend you are participants in a study-
you come into the laboratory, you have to give a 5 minute impromptu speech on your personal weaknesses
to a panel of expert evaluators sitting right in front of you,
now if you were actually in this study, you probably be a little stressed out - your heart might be pounding,
you might be breathing faster, normally we interpret these physical changes as anxiety,
but what if you viewed them instead, as signs that your body was preparing you to meet this challenge?
Now that is exactly what participants were told in a study conducted at Harvard University.
And participants who learned to view the stress response as helpful,
while they were less stressed out, less anxious, more confident, their physical stress response changed.
Now, in a typical stress response, your heart rate goes up, and your blood vessels constrict,
but in the study when participants viewed their stress response as helpful,
their blood vessels stayed relaxed, like this. Their heart was still pounding
but this is a much healthier cardiovascular profile- it's a lot like what happens in moments of courage.
We need to talk about a hormone - Oxytocin.
Oxytocin makes you crave physical contact with your friends and family.
It enhances your empathy. Your pituitary gland pumps this stuff out as part of the stress response,
and one of its main roles in your body is to protect your cardiovascular system from the effects of stress.
Your heart has receptors for this hormone,
and oxytocin helps heart cells regenerate from any stress-induced damage.
I wanna finish by telling you about one more study. This study tracked about a 1000 adults in the United States,
and they started the study by asking "How much stress have you experienced in the last year?"
They also asked "How much time have you spent helping out friends?"
People who spent time caring for others, showed absolutely no stress related increase in dying, zero.
When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage.
And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience.
Thank you.
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Kelly McGonigal | How to make stress your friend (Condensed Talk)

125022 Folder Collection
Ya-han Chang published on March 2, 2017    Tanya Chiu translated    Sabrina Hsu reviewed
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