How to Make Stress Your Friend.

The Ted Talk I listened to for this blog post was how to make stress you friend by Kelly McGonical. This Ted Talk explained how the negative side effects of stress don't necessarily come from the stress itself but instead from the way we think about stress. If we think about stress as a fuel that makes us better then stress can actually help us instead of harming us. As well she explained how activities like caring for others can increase your resilience to stress. Her main point was that the problems associated with stress aren't inevitable and how you think about stress determines how you respond to it.

I chose this talk because the title was very eye-catching and applies to where I am now in my life. With university applications and final exams coming up I am currently experiencing a lot of stress and obviously any way to get that stress to work for me would be appreciated. I also know that if I don't find a way to get a handle on my stress now, university and my life beyond will probably be even worse. So since the video seemed the most applicable to my current and future life circumstances I thought it was worth a watch.

I agreed with many of the ideas she explained in this talk and she provides many studies to back up her claims. I have noticed that doing things for others helps alleviate my stress and makes me feel better overall which was one of her main points. I also know how powerful the placebo effect is so the power of the human mind on the body has already been proven I think she made a very compelling argument that the way you think about stress is more important then the stress itself. Her point of view also seems to be the way the healthcare world as a whole is heading which makes me even more inclined to agree with it.

It's hard to find things to disagree with in this talk because I don't have much experience in the subject so I have no prior knowledge. The only thing I question is the accuracy of the studies, since she didn't mention how they controlled for external variables or what the questionnaire framed the questions about stress. We also don't know the sample size of the studies so it is hard to project their relevance the the wider population. I also think she may be may be jumping to conclusions on the meaning of the studies's results a bit too quickly based on the information we have. 

One of my questions after this talk would be if it is possible to know when we're experience good stress (arteries open) and when we're experiencing bad stress (arteries constricted). Having this knowledge could help me see if how I think about stress can have real results in my life. I also wonder what counts as "caring for others". Does loving my family count? Doing good deeds for my neighbors? Knowing what exactly I need to do to increase my stress resilience would be helpful. Also if I think about stress in the right way do I not need to worry about constant high stress anymore? Or is it a combination of thinking about stress in the right way but still limiting it. Other then those points I think everything else in the presentation was pretty clearly explained.

Yes I would recommend this talk to a friend as I think the message is applicable to everyone since we all experience stress. As well if there is even a small chance that this talk could help a friend lead a happier and healthier life then I feel required to let them know about it. If what she's saying in this talk is true the more the message is shared the less effect stress can have on the population as a whole and fewer people will die of stress related diseases. I think everyone has something to gain or learn from this talk and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to my friends and family.


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