Summary of The Upside of Stress

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The Upside of Stress book summary


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According to conventional wisdom, stress is a killer – a Pandora’s box of threats to the mind and body. Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal offers a rare contrarian look at stress based on new research that changed her mind about its impact. She disputes overblown warnings about stress’s toxicity and cites studies showing that pressure harms only those people who believe it harmful. By contrast, those who embrace stress and use it to fuel their efforts are happier, healthier and more productive. Stress stimulates physical and neurological changes that boost energy, confidence and empathy, all traits that McGonigal brings to her work. She engagingly describes dozens of paradigm-smashing studies, relates stories of how embracing stress transforms lives and offers practical advice on reworking your relationship with stress. getAbstract recommends her reassuring and useful take on one of life’s challenges to harried entrepreneurs, managers, performers, students, parents and emergency workers.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How your body’s stress responses function,
  • How your beliefs about stress influence its effects and
  • How to use stress to boost performance.

About the Author

Kelly McGonigal, PhD, the former editor in chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, teaches at Stanford University. She also wrote The Willpower Instinct and Yoga for Pain Relief.



Negative and Positive Stress
Most health experts preach that stress is dangerous. Learn to manage your stress, they say, or invite such consequences as heart disease, depression and addiction. These experts say that managing stress means reducing it, either through relaxation techniques...

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    Chong Park 5 months ago
    I liked the way of thinking to take use of the energy released by stress to my benefit and see stress as something positive. Thanks.
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    Ashish Agarwal 5 months ago
    When the going gets tough, the tough get going! The study seems to suggest that the not-so-tough could possibly train their psyche to pick fight over flight responses to difficult circumstances.

    These self help studies/ books increasingly seem to inculcate pessimists' view of the environment (acceptance and tolerance) rather than encourage optimists' actions to fundamentally eliminate the stress causing stimuli.
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    Mario Montenegro 5 months ago
    What a great learning!!! It all about attitude and challenge yourself to change your mindset!!! Key learning: Deal with stress by embracing it! #StayOnTrack #getAbstract
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    Cong Vo 1 year ago
    I've been avoiding stress, and the author is right. When you avoid stress you become less and less effective at dealing stress. For some areas of life I am able to handle stress much better than another particular area
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    Jeanie Lee 2 years ago
    This is really inspiring! Great stuff!
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    Sarah Dumas 3 years ago
    This is awesome. So much truth to this and I think it is an important lesson for us all to either learn or to be reminded of.
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    Janice Nessel 3 years ago
    Because I have been in management many years, I agree with the author that stress can be used as a positive enforcer to allow change and new ideas.

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