What's the upside of stress?

We talk about our hectic lives, of being stressed, feeling exhausted, no time to see enough of our friends and certainly zero time for hobbies.  We tend to exacerbate this and harp on about the negativity in our country, the economy and political players which all stress us out! But, there is the flip side in that there is both positive and negative stress.


Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal has just released a book called: "The Upside of Stress". Why stress is good for you, and HOW TO GET GOOD AT IT." 

She offers a contrarian look at stress and cites studies showing that pressure harms only those people who believe it is harmful.

This fits with the thinking ... 'changing your words, change your world'.

Instead of saying: I am stressed ; I am hectic ; I am overwhelmed ; I am exhausted ... how about using different words. Such as: This is challenging ;  stimulating ; putting fire in my belly ;  making me relook my assumptions; putting 'vooma' in my tank?


McGonigal's research shows that people who embrace stress and use it to fuel their efforts are happier, healthier and more productive. She says that stress stimulates physical and neurological changes that boost energy, confidence and empathy. 

Can stress be a 'resource' for you? 

The latest paradigm-smashing studies show that the stress response enhances performance.

Under stress...

  • Businesspeople negotiate more effectively

  • Students get higher marks in tests

  • Athletes become more competitive

  • Surgeons improve their dexterity


So embrace your adrenalin surges... feel them, use them and most importantly RE-LABEL your experiences ... use words that allow the benefits of these surges to 'shine'. Of course ...don't be driving in 5th or 6th gear all the time ... you need to idle, as well as park at times, where your body is in a state of ease and coherence.  It's a bit like minimising your coffee intake. So that when you need that real kick: one strong cup of coffee gives you take much needed vooma. In this way you'll truly feel and sense the benefits of increased adrenalin.