Anxious? Stressed? That’s Okay!

You can make friends with your stress, Shamash Alidina writes.

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Stress has got a bad reputation. A quick search for the term “stress” online, and I find the first five websites are about reducing stress and dealing with anxiety and depression. Magazines are full of tips for reducing stress. And the popular term “mindfulness” in part came from Jon Kabat-Zinn‘s pioneering program called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

But is stress really that bad? If you watch the talk by Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal on TED, you may be pleasantly surprised. She highlighted a huge piece of research at University of Wisconsin-Madison that shocked many people. The research on 29,000 people over 8 years discovered that your view of stress impacts your health far more than the stress itself.

The research found that if you think of stress is always bad for you, then your prediction will come true. But, if you think stress is a good thing—it energizes you, challenges you and gets you moving—you’re also correct. People with a positive view of stress lived many years longer than those with a negative view of stress—an amazing fact.

So stress itself isn’t so bad after all. Part of the reason I titled my book,