May 18 '16

Kelly McGonigal: How to be good at stress

Since Stanford University psychologist’s Kelly McGonigal’s 2013 TED talk was referenced above, I thought it would be a prudent move to provide some details on McGonigal’s take on stress, and how people can be “good” at it, and what that really means.

She explains that being “good” at it, doesn’t just mean that you don’t get stressed out, and that you stay clam under pressure. McGonigal suggests that the truth of stress, to her, shows two important things. First, trying to avoid stress is fundamentally counterproductive, and second, thinking that we can emerge from stressful circumstances unscathed and unchanged is exactly the wrong way of thinking.

Instead, McGonigal says, people should start thinking about how to have the courage to grow from stress a view that was first described by psychologist Salvatore Maddi, who founded the Hardiness Research Lab at the University of California Irvine. Maddi dedicated his career to identifying what distinguishes people who thrive under stress form those who are defeated by it. The ones who thrive, he found, are those who view stress as inevitable, and rather than try to avoid it, they look for ways to engage with it, adapt to it, and learn from it.

Read on.