Келли Макгонигал Как превратить стресс в друга TED Talk

I have a confession to make but first I want you to make a little confession to me in the past year would you just raise your hand if you've experienced relatively little stress anyone mm-hmm how about a moderate amount of stress who's experienced a lot of stress yeah me too but that is not my confession my confession is this I am a health psychologist and my mission is to help people be happier and healthier but I fear that something I've been teaching for the last ten years is doing more harm than good and it has to do with stress for years I've been telling people stress makes you sick it increases the risk of everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease basically I've turned stress into the enemy but I've changed my mind about stress and today I want to change yours let me start with the study that made me rethink my whole approach to stress this study tracked 30,000 adults in the United States for eight years and they started by asking people how much stress have you experienced in the last year they also asked do you believe that stress is harmful for your health and then they use public death records to find out who died okay some bad news first people who experience a lot of stress in the previous year had a 43% increased risk of dying but that was only true for the people who also believed that stress is harmful for your health people who experience a lot of stress but did not view stress as harmful were no more likely to die in fact they had the lowest risk of dying of anyone in the study including people who had relatively little stress now the researchers estimated that over the eight years they were tracking deaths one hundred and eighty-two thousand Americans died prematurely not from stress but from the belief that stress is bad for you that is over 20,000 deaths a year now if that estimate is correct that would make believing stress is bad for you the 15th largest cause of death in the United States last year killing more people than skin cancer hiv/aids and homicide you can see why the study freaked me out here I've been spending so much energy telling people stress is bad for your health so this study got me wondering can changing how you think about stress make you healthier and here the science says yes when you change your mind about stress you can change your body's response to stress now to explain how this works I want you all to pretend that you are participants in a study designed to stress you out it's called the social stress test you come into the laboratory and you're told you have to give a five minute impromptu speech on your personal weaknesses to a panel of expert evaluators sitting right in front of you and to make sure you feel the pressure there are bright lights and a camera in your face kind of like this and the evaluators have been trained to give you discouraging nonverbal feedback like this now that you're sufficiently demoralized time for part two a math test and unbeknownst to you the experimenter has been trained to harass you during it now we're going to all do this together it's going to be fun for me okay I want you all to count backwards from 996 in increments of seven you're going to do this out loud as fast as you can starting with 996 go go faster faster please you're going too slow stop stop stop stop that guy made a mistake we're gonna have to start all over again you're not very good at this are you okay so you get the idea now if you were actually in this study you'd probably be a little stressed out your heart might be pounding you might be breathing fast or maybe breaking out into a sweat and normally we interpret these physical changes as anxiety or signs that we aren't coping very well with the pressure but what if you viewed them instead as signs that your body was energized was preparing you to meet this challenge now that is exactly what participants were told in a study conducted at Harvard University before they went through the social stress test they were taught to rethink their stress response is helpful that pounding heart is preparing you for action if you're breathing faster it's no problem it's getting more oxygen to your brain and participants who learned to view the stress response as helpful for their performance well they were less stressed out less anxious more confident but the most fascinating finding to me was how their physical stress response changed now in a typical stress response your heart rate goes up and your blood vessels constrict like this and this is one of the reasons that chronic stress is sometimes associated with cardiovascular disease it's not really healthy to be in this state all the time but in the study when participants view their stress response as helpful their blood vessel stayed relaxed like this their heart was still pounding but this is a much healthier cardiovascular profile it actually looks a lot like what happens in moments of joy and courage over a lifetime of stressful experiences this one biological change could be the difference between a stress induced heart attack at age 50 and living well into your 90s and this is really what the new science of stress reveals that how you think about stress matters so my goal is a health psych colleges has changed I no longer want to get rid of your stress I want to make you better at stress and we just did a little intervention if you raised your hand and said you'd had a lot of stress in the last year we could have saved your life because hopefully the next time your heart is pounding from stress you're going to remember this talk and you're going to sing to yourself this is my body helping me rise to this challenge and when you view stress in that way your body believes you and your stress response becomes healthier now I said I have over a decade of demonizing stress to redeem myself from so we are going to do one more intervention I want to tell you about one of the most underappreciated aspects of the stress response and the idea is this stress makes you social to understand the side of stress we need to talk about a hormone oxytocin and I know oxytocin has already gotten as much hype as a hormone can get it even has its own cute nickname the cuddle hormone because it's release when you hug someone but this is a very small part of what oxytocin is involved in oxytocin is a neurohormone it fine Tunes your brains social instincts it Prime's you to do things that strengthen close relationships oxytocin makes you crave physical contact with your friends and family it enhances your empathy it even makes you more willing to help and support the people you care about some people have even suggested we should snort oxytocin to become more compassionate and caring but here's what most people don't understand about oxytocin it's a stress hormone your pituitary gland pumps this stuff out as part of the stress response it's as much a part of your stress response as the adrenaline that makes your heart pound and when oxytocin is released in the stress response it is motivating you to seek support your biological stress response is nudging you to tell someone how you feel instead of bottling it up your stress response wants to make sure you notice when someone else in your life is struggling so that you can support each other when life is difficult your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you okay so how is knowing this side of stress going to make you healthier well oxytocin doesn't only act on your brain it also acts on your body and one of its main roles in your body is to protect your cardiovascular system from the effects of stress it's a natural anti-inflammatory it also helps your blood vessels stay relaxed during stress but my favorite effect on the body is actually on the heart your heart has receptors for this hormone and oxytocin helps heart cells regenerate and heal from any stress induced damage this stress hormone strengthens your heart and the cool thing is is that all of these physical benefits of oxytocin are enhanced by social contact and social support so when you reach out to others under stress either to seek support or to help someone else you release more of this hormone your stress response becomes healthier and you actually recover faster from stress I find this amazing that your stress response has a built-in mechanism for stress resilience and that mechanism is human connection I want to finish by telling you about one more study and listen up because this study could also save a life this study tracked about a thousand adults in the United States and they ranged in age from 34 to 93 and they started the study by asking how much stress have you experienced in the last year they also asked how much time have you spent helping out front neighbors people in your community and then they use public records for the next five years to find out who died okay so the bad news first for every major stressful life experience like financial difficulties or family crisis that increase the risk of dying by 30% but and I hope you are expecting a but by now but that wasn't true for everyone people who spent time caring for others showed absolutely no stress-related increase in dying zero caring created resilience and so we see once again that the harmful effects of stress on your health are not inevitable how you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress when you choose to view your stress response as helpful you create the biology of courage and when you choose to connect with others under stress you can create resilience now I wouldn't necessarily ask for more stressful experiences in my life but the science has given me a whole new appreciation for stress stress gives us access to our hearts the compassionate heart that finds joy and meaning and connecting with others and yes you're pounding physical heart working so hard to give you strength and energy and when you choose to view stress in this way you're not just getting better at stress you're actually making a pretty profound statement you're saying that you can trust yourself to handle life's challenges and you're remembering that you don't have to face them alone thank you and this is um this is kind of amazing what you're telling us it's just it seems amazing to me that a belief about stress can make so much difference to someone's life expectancy how would that extend to advice like if someone's making a lifestyle choice between say a stressful job and a non stressful job is it doesn't matter that which way they go that it's it's equally wise to go for the stressful job so long as you believe that you can handle it in some sense yeah and one thing we know for certain is that chasing meaning is better for your health and trying to avoid discomfort and so I would say that's really the best way to make decisions is go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows thank you so much Kelly

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