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Your belief about stress, about whether or not it is harmful to your health, determines its effect on your health.

When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.

[I]n a typical stress response, your heart rate goes up, and your blood vessels constrict… [W]hen participants viewed their stress response as helpful, their blood vessels stayed relaxed... like what happens in moments of joy and courage.

[T]he next time your heart is pounding from stress, you’re going to remember this talk and you’re going to think to yourself, this is my body helping me rise to this challenge… [W]hen you view stress in that way, your body believes you, and your stress response becomes healthier.

Stress makes you social. When we experience stress, the pituitary gland releases the neuro-hormone oxytocin.

[W]hen 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.

[C]hasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort… [G]o after what it is that creates meaning in your life, and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.

Full Transcript of Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your FriendTEDGlobal 2013 · Filmed June 2013