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Perception of Stress | Psychologist Kelly McGonigal | Find Your Stride | Edinburgh Podiatrist

In a world where stress is often viewed as a universally negative force, Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal provides a refreshing perspective that challenges this prevailing notion. In an article featured on Stanford News in 2015, McGonigal argues that individuals who do not perceive stress as harmful will be less affected by its negative consequences, which includes chronic illness or injury. Her research sheds light on the power of mindset in shaping our experience of stress and ultimately our overall well-being.


Woman taking a mindful moment during a walk
Perceiving stress as a natural and adaptive response could work wonders for your health and wellbeing

McGonigal's research highlights the detrimental effects that the belief in the harmfulness of stress can have on our physical and mental health. When individuals view stress as inherently harmful, they are more likely to experience increased levels of anxiety, depression, and physical ailments such as heart disease and hypertension. This is due to the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can have detrimental effects on the body when produced in excess over prolonged periods of time. However, McGonigal's research suggests that changing our mindset about stress can actually help mitigate these negative effects.


One key finding from McGonigal's research is the idea that stress can be viewed as a natural and adaptive response that helps us rise to the occasion and meet the challenges we face. By reframing stress as a sign that our bodies are preparing for action, individuals can harness its energy to perform better under pressure. Instead of perceiving stress as a sign of weakness or vulnerability, individuals can view it as a source of motivation and resilience. This shift in mindset can lead to increased feelings of empowerment and control over stressful situations, ultimately reducing the negative impact that stress can have on our well-being.


McGonigal's research also emphasises the importance of social connections in moderating the effects of stress on our health. Studies have shown that individuals who have strong social support networks are better equipped to handle stressful situations and cope with the demands of daily life. By reaching out to friends, family, and colleagues for support during times of stress, individuals can create a sense of belonging and connectedness that helps buffer the negative effects of stress. This sense of community and solidarity can provide comfort and reassurance in times of need, ultimately improving our ability to navigate the challenges that life throws our way.


Furthermore, McGonigal's research highlights the role of mindfulness and meditation in reducing the impact of stress on our health. By practicing mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga, individuals can cultivate a sense of calm and presence that helps them stay centred and focused in stressful situations. These practices can help individuals regulate their emotions, manage their stress levels, and maintain a sense of balance and well-being in the face of adversity. By incorporating mindfulness into their daily routines, individuals can develop greater resilience and inner strength that enables them to navigate life's challenges with grace and composure.


In conclusion, Kelly McGonigal's research on stress provides a valuable perspective on the power of mindset in shaping our experience of stress and ultimately our overall well-being. By reframing stress as a natural and adaptive response that can be harnessed for growth and empowerment, individuals can mitigate its negative effects and cultivate a sense of resilience and well-being. By fostering strong social connections, practicing mindfulness, and changing our mindset about stress, we can transform the way we experience and respond to the challenges that life presents us. Ultimately, by embracing stress as a source of strength and resilience, we can unlock our full potential and lead more fulfilling and empowered lives.


Find Your Stride!

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