Stress is Good

Stress is good for your health if you believe it’s good for you.

Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, has given a popular TED Talk and written a book titled “The Upside of Stress,” where she discusses the idea that viewing stress as a positive force can change its physiological effects.

She shares a study that tracked 30,000 adults in US for eight years, revealing that those who believed stress is harmful had a 43% increased risk of dying, while those who experienced stress but didn’t view it as harmful had the lowest risk of dying.

Oxytocin, known as the “cuddle hormone,” is released during stress and promotes seeking support. It protects the cardiovascular system and strengthens the heart, with benefits enhanced by social connections.

Another study shows that helping others reduces the impact of stress on health, indicating that one’s mindset and actions can transform the experience of stress, making a profound statement about trust and resilience.

For me, when I was teaching 16-18 classes per week, communicating with hundreds of students (and their parents) in real life, running groups and workshops in other cities was a lot of stress. But I have adopted this believe, that this lifestyle is healthy. And I don’t regret it. In the end, “we are not iPhones“.

It’s important to note that while these studies and my personal opinion suggest a link between mindset and health outcomes, stress itself remains a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. Chronic stress, especially when perceived as overwhelming or uncontrollable, can have detrimental effects on physical and mental health.