Reframing Stress To Help You Perform

Expert Cited: Dr. Kelly McGonical
Written by
Brian Leddy
Kelly mcgonigal professional headshot hero kellymcgonigal com

We all know that taking care of our bodies is essential for optimal health. We hit the gym, fuel up with nutritious food, and prioritize sleep. But what about our mental well-being? Stress and anxiety are common foes that can wreak havoc on our overall health and fitness goals.

One of the experts on the subject of mental health and its impact on physical health, particularly stress wreaking havoc with our systems is psychologist Kelly McGonical. 

Her TED Talk "How to make stress your friend," is worth a watch in full. She flips the script on stress, challenging the idea that it's always harmful.

She argues that changing our mindset about stress can actually transform its impact on our health.

Expert: Dr. Kelly McGonigal

Field of Study: Science-help

Bio: A psychologist and author Dr. McGonigal distills the latest research into concepts that are easy-to-udderstand for the masses, focusing on stress's relationsship to to the body.

Primary Source:

New Research on Stress: It's All About Perspective

First of all, Kelly's done her homework, so we can just copy off of her like we're in middle school and she's the smart kid sitting next to us.

If You Think Your Stress Is Bad For You, It Will Be

McGonigal cites a study of 30,000 adults that found a surprising link between stress and mortality.

People who experienced high stress levels and believed stress was harmful were more likely to die than those who experienced high stress but didn't view it as harmful.

In fact, those who believed stress was harmful had a whopping 43% increased risk of dying!

Reframing Stress Makes It More Bearable

Another study at Harvard University showed that when people were taught to view their stress response as helpful for their performance, they became less stressed, less anxious, and more confident.

Even their physical stress response improved, with relaxed blood vessels and a healthier cardiovascular profile.

How to Reframe Stress: Embrace the Challenge

The key is to see stress as a signal that your body is gearing up to conquer a challenge, not a sign that you're failing. When you view stress in this light, your body follows suit, and your stress response becomes healthier.

The Social Side of Stress: Oxytocin to the Rescue

Did you know that stress can actually bring you closer to others?

Oxytocin, a hormone released during stress, is often called the "cuddle hormone" because it promotes connection and empathy. 

It also motivates you to seek social support, which can strengthen your cardiovascular system and help you recover from stress faster.

BodyStack's Stress-Busting Toolkit

Ready to transform stress from foe to friend? We've done some research and collected ideas, however, like anything on our website, we are not medical professionals and this shouldn't be seen as medical advice.

With that that said, here's our toolkit that might help you tame the stress beast:

Mindfulness and Meditation: Tune into your thoughts and feelings without judgment, and find your zen through meditation.

Exercise Regularly: Sweat out the stress and boost your mood with regular workouts.

Prioritize Sleep: Skimping on sleep can make stress worse, so make sure you're getting enough shut-eye.

Eat a Healthy Diet: Fuel your body with whole, nutrient-dense foods to keep your energy levels up and your mood stable.

Connect with Others: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family to buffer against stress.

Seek Professional Help: If stress is taking a toll on your life, don't hesitate to reach out to a therapist or counselor.

By following these tips, you can learn to manage stress like a pro and unlock a healthier, happier you.

Remember, stress is a part of life, but it doesn't have to control you. Embrace it as a challenge, and watch yourself grow stronger and more resilient.

Brian Leddy Profile Image
Brian Leddy CEO & Co-Founder, BodyStack (FDN-P)
Certified Functional Diagnostic Practitioner (FDN-P) and owner of Leddy Functional Wellness. Formerly an Adweek Executive and Media Entreprenuer, Brian pivoted his career to focus on inspiring and coaching people from all walks of life to make positive strides in their respective health journeys. Brian is a Co-Founder, and now serves as the CEO of BodyStack.
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