Can changing how you think about stress make you healthier?

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kelly mcgIn this fascinating TED talk, meditation teacher and health psychologist Kelly McGonigal presents evidence suggesting that stress itself isn’t harmful, but the belief that stress is harmful is! The belief that stress is harmful would then be a form of the nocibo effect — the opposite of the placebo effect — where believing something is harmful makes it so.

Can changing how you think about stress make you healthier? According to McGonigal the science says yes. When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.

Believing that stress is normal and healthy protects your blood vessels, promotes healing in the heart, and leads to the release of oxytocin, a hormone that leads to social bonding.

If McGonigal is right, this shift in perspective could save tens of thousands of lives each year.

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  • What an excellent talk. I am a mental health nurse and showed the article to others in my team. Not all believed in it and I think the “stress industry” has a lot to blame for this.


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