Published March 17, 2014  by Jessica Stillman,


The problem isn’t your stress but your attitude towards stress

What’s the 15th largest cause of death in the United States?

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If you guessed homicide, skin cancer, or AIDS, nice try, but not correct. According to a fascinating TED talk by Stanford University health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, new studies suggest the answer might be stress. A large study, she reveals, estimated that stress kills up to 20,000 Americans a year.

So how on earth could McGonigal go on to suggest that you make stress your friend? It turns out that only a particular kind of stress takes a serious toll of your health.

What kind? The kind you believe is bad for you.

Stress Isn’t Bad for Your Health…

Marshaling a boatload of scientific data, McGonigal explains that what makes stress harmful isn’t the basic physical reaction that causes your heart to pound and your palms to sweat, but your belief that this is a bad feeling.

Think of those changes as a positive mechanism your body has implemented to prepare you to meet challenges and your constricted blood vessels relax, ensuring that elevated heart rate isn’t damaging. Instead, it’s roughly similar to what happens in the body when we experience joy or courage.

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