Summary of How to Make Stress Your Friend

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How to Make Stress Your Friend summary
Stress won’t kill you, but your beliefs about stress might.


9 Overall

10 Applicability

9 Innovation

9 Style


After a decade of “demonizing stress,” health psychologist Kelly McGonigal has a lot of retracting to do. Her new mantra, “trust your body,” emphasizes the interaction between beliefs and stress, and she explains how the former can mitigate or exacerbate the effects of the latter. While she doesn’t delve into statistical or research methods, if the science behind the studies is sound, McGonigal’s down-to-earth, humorous talk provides critical information for anyone in a high-stress position. getAbstract recommends this video to executives, business owners and harried professionals who question the toll a high-stress life may be taking on their health.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the belief that stress is a negative health factor is more damaging than stress itself
  • Why changing attitudes toward stress is important
  • How the neurohormone oxytocin helps to alleviate stress


New research shows that your attitude toward stress dictates your body’s response to it.
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About the Speaker

Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal holds positions at both the Stanford School of Business and the Stanford School of Medicine. She wrote The Willpower Instinct.

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    Deirdre Cody 12 months ago
    Today I learned that Kelly McGonigal and Jane McGonigal, author of SuperBetter (TED video:, are identical twin sisters. Perhaps the greatest talents to derive from a single egg since Ronald and Frank de Boer?
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    Sander Kevin L 1 year ago
    This article brought forth some very interesting results. I new stress was a life shortner, but was very surprised to see that it could impact the risk of dying by 43%.
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    Moseley Deborah L 1 year ago
    I enjoyed this talk immensely, especially at the very end when the question of pursuing meaning was added into the mix. Viewing stress as a route to courage, reaching out in times of stress (either to give or receive support) AND pursuing meaning in life speaks directly to SSM's mission. I would love to see more TED talks as an adjunct or option to READ to LEAD. inspiring.
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    Richard Covert 1 year ago
    A very nice talk that leads us to rethink how we manage stress in our daily lives. Attitude counts! Seeing opportunity arise out of what is a potentially difficult situation is refreshing and enlightening. It is important to convey this to our peers and our loved ones; to create an environment that facilitates a positive response to stress. Doing so will have a positive impact on ourselves and others.
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    Guest 3 years ago
    I highly recommend her book "The Willpower Instinct", which is also mentioned here. getAbstract summarized "Willpower" by Baumeister/Tierney. McGonigals book "The Willpower Instinct" is science plus real world experience from a very popular willpower class she gave. Baumeister/Tierney's book is science plus anecdotes (journalism).

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