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Embracing stress is more important than reducing stress, Stanford psychologist says

Summary

Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal says that viewing stress more positively can make people stronger, smarter, and happier. McGonigal recently published a book, The Upside of Stress, which focuses on the concept that viewing stress as helpful, rather than harmful, can lead to better health, emotional well-being and productivity. This involves viewing one's body's stress response as helpful, viewing oneself as able to handle and learn from stress, and viewing stress as something everyone deals with. It is important to understand that stress can be harmful, but focusing on the fear that reality is killing you is not helpful. People can find meaning in stressful situations, which can help reduce the harmful effects of stress. Finally, viewing stress as an opportunity to learn and grow can be beneficial in the long term.

Q&As

What are the three most protective beliefs about stress according to Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal?
The three most protective beliefs about stress according to Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal are to view your body's stress response as helpful, not debilitating; to view yourself as able to handle, and even learn and grow from, the stress in your life; and to view stress as something that everyone deals with, and not something that proves how uniquely screwed up you or your life is.

How can cultivating a positive mindset towards stress help one to handle and grow from it?
Cultivating a positive mindset towards stress can help one to cope in ways that help them thrive, such as tackling the source of stress, seeking social support or finding meaning in it. It can also help to reduce the harmful effects of stress and increase one's ability to handle and grow from it.

What is the relationship between stress and meaning?
The relationship between stress and meaning is that people who have experienced the highest number of stressful life events in the past were most likely to consider their lives meaningful. People who said they were under a lot of stress right now also rated their lives as more meaningful. Even time spent worrying about the future was associated with meaning.

What is the process of learning and growing from a difficult experience called?
The process of learning and growing from a difficult experience is called stress inoculation.

What does Stanford psychologist Amy Zegart say about the role of AI in spycraft?
Stanford psychologist Amy Zegart says that the profession of spycraft, which once hunted diligently for secrets, is now picking through huge haystacks for needles of insight – precisely the kind of work at which AI excels.

AI Comments

👍 This article presents a very insightful view on how to tackle stress. It provides a well-researched perspective on how to view stress in a positive light and how to use it to your advantage.

👎 This article does not address the deeper psychological effects of stress and how it can lead to long-term mental health issues. It also does not offer any practical strategies to help people cope with stress.

AI Discussion

Me: It's about how embracing stress is more important than reducing it. Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal talks about new research indicating that stress can make us stronger, smarter and happier – if we learn how to open our minds to it.

Friend: Interesting. What are the implications of this?

Me: Well, the research suggests that if we change our attitude towards stress and view it as helpful rather than harmful, it can lead to better health, emotional well-being and productivity. It can also help us to cope better and become more resilient in the face of stress. The research also suggests that we should focus on finding meaning in stressful situations, as this can help reduce the negative effects of stress. Lastly, it suggests that we should view stress as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Action items

Technical terms

Stress
A physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.
Mindset
A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations.
Cope
To deal effectively with something difficult.
Thrive
To grow vigorously; flourish.
Ambiguity
The quality of being open to more than one interpretation; inexactness.
Inoculation
The introduction of a small amount of a pathogen or antigen into the body to produce immunity to a particular disease.

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