Kelly McGonigal: How To Turn Stress Into An Advantage
How do you approach stress? Do you dread stressful days? Or does the thought of stress make you feel anxious and unproductive? What would happen if you changed your approach to stress and saw it as a positive, and a fundamental element to a meaningful life?
In a talk that is insightful and inspiring, informed and surprising, Kirsty McGonigal addresses the paradox of stress. Many of us may wonder why stress exists in our lives, wishing we could bypass it altogether. Certainly, there seems to be an ingrained attitude that stress can be the enemy of happiness and health, and can lead to difficulties and depression. Yet, Kelly turns this argument on its head and looks at a contrasting correlation between stress and wellbeing. Yes, stress can bring anger and worries, which can undoubtedly have a negative impact, but it can also bring joy, love, and opportunities to learn.
From the onset, Kirsty addresses her audience, asking who had a stressful day yesterday, and whether, if they had the choice, they would say they wanted their day tomorrow to be really stressful. Even watching through a screen, I raised my hand to say yes I had a stressful day, and laughed along with the audience at the thought of wanting a stressful day tomorrow. But, by the end of her talk, my thoughts on this came from a completely different perspective. As Kirsty explains, stress can be a positive and can be embraced. It's taking advantage of stress states that can help you learn, grow and become stronger. In fact, stress hormones such as DHEA can help your brain grow, form new communications, and in turn build your confidence when approaching stressful challenges.
Stress is certainly not a sign of weakness. It's a manifestation of just how much we care about something. Yes, it can be unpleasant. Yes, it can place a physical and emotional intensity on your whole being. But there are ways to use stress, so rather than it taking advantage of you, you can take advantage of it. In stress there is opportunity and room to develop.
If you're looking for a confidence boost watch Kelly's talk, and see how your approach to stress may shift too.
Words by Lottie Franklin