When your brain senses danger, your amygdala, the part of your brain that helps with emotional processing, sends an alarm signal to your hypothalamus. Acting as command central, your hypothalamus activates your sympathetic nervous system.
Click to email this to a friend Opens in new window Psychologist Kelly McGonigal used to demonize stress, warning patients that stress can increase the risk of a wide variety of ailments.
Then, new research changed her mind. How to make stress your friend explored a startling research finding in her talk last year: Stress may only have negative health consequences if you believe that it will.
Instead of fearing stress, befriend it. Stress correlates to a lower risk of death if you think about it in the way that McGonigal suggests. In her talk, McGonigal references a study done by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Researchers looked at data from a survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics that asked specific questions about stress levels, stress management and perceptions about how stress affects health.
They used a sample of about 29, respondents from the survey who matched up to public records, and then looked at instances of death among survey respondents through However, survey respondents who reported a lot of stress but little to no perception that stress impacted health had the lowest hazard ratio of any group in the survey, even those who felt almost no stress.
Stress boosts the production of neurons that may improve performance. A study from Daniela Kaufer and Elizabeth Kirby at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests why some stress can propel you forward and enable you to meet a challenge.
These scientists put rats in a stressful situation — they immobilized them in their cages to boost the levels of stress hormone in their bodies. In the brain, this boost appeared to cause stem cells to grow into new neurons. Bursts of stress may strengthen the immune system. Read the study, published in Psychoeuroendocrinology.
Stress can make you more social.
A study by researchers at the University of Freiburg suggests that stress can help you make friends. For this study, 72 male students were divided into a stress condition and a control condition.
In the stress condition, the students had to go through an ordeal very similar to the research subjects in 3.
In the end, the researchers found that students in the stress condition exhibited more prosocial behaviors in the games. In other words, they were more willing to trust their partner and showed a greater propensity to share.
Stress can improve learning. A study in the journal Nautrwissenschaften looked at how male spotted bowerbirds learn new sounds, and concluded that the species showed enhanced learning capabilities during moments of acute stress. After that, they were asked to do two learning experiments often conducted in animals — an eyeblink test and a virtual navigation test.
The subjects in the stress group performed far better on both tests. Stress may improve memory. Rats, apparently, hate swimming. Researchers at the University of Buffalo used this fact to help them with an experiment in They forced one group of rats to take a minute swim while another group stayed dry — then they measured how both groups performed in a maze.
The researchers noted that these rats had an increase in the neurotransmitter glutamine, known to improve working memory. A more recent study looked at the interplay between stress and working memory in human beings. Researchers at New Mexico State University gave students a test where they looked at nearly identical images in rapid succession and had to note subtle differences between the two.According to McGonigal, you can stop the negative effects of stress simply by believing stress is helpful.
She also explains the “cuddle hormone” and the way in which stress is . Great talks. I’ve found these talks to be beneficial. However, there is limited discussion regarding how to deal with anxiety when what is perceived is a real likelihood (yes I watched the videos and I’m not .
Watch video · Stanford health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, shares in her TED talk on how staying socially connected and helping others can help you adapt to stress. Other powerful habits are learning how to practice gratitude, and optimism.
Thinking of new ways to address this stress is another matter. To get new ideas for our own relief, we turned to timberdesignmag.com — our favorite resource for new inspiration and ideas.
We encourage you to carve out 15 minutes for yourself to check out one of the great talks we found below. Stress Relief. Bodyweight Workouts The 22 Best TED Talks for Fitness, Health, and Happiness Inspiration.
Greatist selected 22 Ted Talks that offer something simple and motivating to apply. In , psychologist Kelly McGonigal Phd. gave one of the most viewed TED Talks of all-time where she reviews her book, The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good For You and How to Get Good at timberdesignmag.com, Ignitia reviews the keys points from this landmark TED Talk now viewed over 17 million times.
Changing Our Perception of Stress.