How to make stress your friend | Kelly McGonigal

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  1. Kelly McGonigal is mixing up correlations with causation.She knows this and she should be ashamed by misleading people about stress. In the american scientist mind is a review of her book the upside of stress. You can find this review by looking at the page of kelly McGonigal at wikipedia. The review is from Robert Epstein, 1 juli 2015.

    Two quotes: Correlation does not imply causation. This is a fundamental lesson psychology professors like me teach in introductory courses. Violating this principle can lead to serious misconceptions, even dangerous practices.

    McGonigal, a psychology instructor at Stanford University, probably teaches that principle, but in The Upside of Stress she seems to have ignored it. The book is a follow-up to a powerful TED talk she gave in 2013, which has had more than 10 million views online. Her message: I have been wrong in counseling people to avoid stress; new research shows that stress can hurt you only if you believe it can. …….

    McGonigal credits a 2012 study by Whitney P. Witt, then at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and her colleagues for her epiphany, but that study showed only that believing one's stressful experiences are harmful was correlated with illness and early mortality. That does not mean beliefs caused illness. There is a simpler, less mysterious way of accounting for the results: people who experience stress but who suffer minimal ill effects from it come to believe that stress cannot hurt them, whereas people who do suffer ill effects come to believe that stress is harmful. Voilà, we now have the correlation those researchers found but with belief as an outcome rather than a cause. McGonigal continues to make this type of error throughout her book.

  2. A not so short summary of my takeaways, hope this is useful:

    – Study showed that people who experienced a lot of stress but didn’t view the stress response as a bad thing had a lower risk of stress related death – lower in fact compared to those who claimed to experience little stress
    – The stress response should be viewed positively in that it’s your body priming itself for a challenge: when you change how you perceive stress, your stress response can change for the better biologically – for example, reduced constriction of blood vessels etc
    – Oxytocin is actually a stress hormone released in the stress response – encouraging you to reach out to people for support or to notice when others need support
    – Oxytocin also has positive effects on the body incl reduced inflammation as well as supporting cardiovascular resilience to stress
    – Study showed that people who cared for others or got support from others had a reduced risk of stress related death
    – Summary- change how you view stress, care for others in need, and reach out to friends/family in your time of need as this will have a huge impact of your body’s experience with stress. Don’t avoid stress instead chase meaning and trust your body will manage any stress that comes

  3. The US capitalistic society and corporations use employee stress as a tool to maximize productivity and minimize resource costs. Stress over losing your job, stress over losing your healthcare which is tied to your employment, stress over low/no pay raises, etc. Many workers put in large amounts of free overtime as a result, and are expected to do so. Employees, their health, and their families suffer greatly as a result. But profits must be kept high for shareholders.

  4. It all makes sense now. How in Islam we are asked to give out in charity even if its a small date that we can afford and that always be content and grateful with what we have in our lives and show gratitude. How its k to be sad but its not ok to be hopeless. How to thank God even when faced with calamity (which is really hard to do) but it gives so much strength and courage to deal with anything and everything. It was an amazing talk btw

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