How to Make Stress Your Friend

January 20, 2017.
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Kelly McGonigal:
How to Make Stress Your Friend
(Among Top 20 Most Watched TED Talks)

Kelly McGonigal, PhD, Stanford psychologist and award-winning lecturer, and author of several books, is a leader in the field of using cutting-edge research from psychology, neuroscience, behavioural economics and medicine, to devise practical strategies for health, happiness and personal success.

Experiencing stress in your daily job and life?  While most of us believe or have been led to believe that stress is universally bad for your health—new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe so.

“The old understanding of stress as an unhelpful relic of our animal instincts is being replaced by the understanding that stress actually makes us socially smart—it’s what allows us to be fully human”, says Kelly McGonigal.

Her TED talk featured here is among the Top 20 most watched TED talks of all time (since 2006 when TED talks started to become available on video online). Not only is the content highly interesting—it is also delivered in a fun and engaging manner.  So if you sometimes feel stressed out—do take a look at McGonigal’s TED talk!

TEDGlobal 2013 12.7 million views on

Her latest book, The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It, published in May 2016, draws on the latest groundbreaking research on this topic and addresses some of the myths that have persisted about stress. Feel too stressed to take the time to read it ? You may want to think again. The book is a practical guide on how to not only handle stress—but thrive on it.

McGonigal’s acclaimed book The Willpower Instinct (2013), based on her highly popular Stanford course “The Science of Willpower”, explains what exactly ‘willpower’ is, how it works and why it matters. Topics covered in the book include dieting and weight loss, health, addiction, quitting smoking, temptation, procrastination, mindfulness, stress, sleep, cravings, exercise, self-control, self-compassion, and greater productivity at work.

Kelly McGonigal has also written the book Yoga for Pain Relief, and produced The Science of Compassion, an audio learning course.

You can find more information on her Web site:

Trond Varlid

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

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