I just finished up a book that was bubbling to the top of my to-read pile as the Holidays passed by me at warp speed. The subject of stress does occupy many minds during the winter months and the up and coming income tax season. But as I began reading the following book I found that this book is a welcome read for any time of the year since stress comes in many forms.
Title: The Upside of Stress
By Kelly McGonigal, PhD
File Size: 1321 KB
Print Length: 301 pages
Publisher: Avery (May 5, 2015)
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
For most of our lives, we have been told that stress is harmful to our health. What if someone were able to prove this to be otherwise? How would you feel if you found that there are more health benefits to stress then health risks? All it takes is a change in your mindset.
Kelly McGonigal argues in her book The Upside of Stress that psychologists have been telling people for years that stress is bad for you but she has discovered through research that this is not indeed the case. With her research, she can prove the benefits of stress can outweigh the harmful effects of stress that revolves around changing the mindset about stress. If one can believe that stress is beneficial than the coping mechanisms associated with stressful events can cause personal growth which will improve the health of that individual.
“Mindsets are beliefs that shape your reality, including objective physical reactions (like the strength of my arm as Crum pushed on it), and even long-term health, happiness, and success. More important, the new field of mindset science shows that a single brief intervention, designed to change how you think about something, can improve your health, happiness, and success, even years into the future.” (McGonigal 2016, 4)
Kelly McGonigal, Phd., is a lecturer and psychologist at Stanford University and an expert on mind-body relationship. She is a senior teacher/consultant at Stanford for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and also teaches for the School of Medicine’s Health Improvement Program. Her work validates the claims of psychological science to personal health and happiness, as well as organizational success and social change.
I understand what McGonigal means when she makes the statement, “When you face difficulties head-on, instead of trying to avoid or deny them, you build your resources for dealing with stressful experiences.” (McGonigal 2016, 18) We all face difficulties over the course of our lives. It is not a matter of what those challenges are but how we handle them that matters most in life. If we don’t manage them well, then we tend to repeat those problems until we can overcome them.
This book explains the reasoning behind why McGonigal believes that stress can be healthy for personal growth. Her research she shares verify why the probability this is correct and she describes this well in the book.
I did not find anything in this book that I would disagree with which is why I have rated this book with five stars.
I highly recommend everyone to read this book, and hopefully, it will change your outlook on stress and help you handle those dreadful times with personal growth and resilience.
McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It (p. 4). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It (p. 18). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress. New York: Avery, 2016.
Valued Blog Post of the Week!
I’m giving myself a writing challenge for the next three months. I will pick a personal value as part of a writing exercise as an experiment to see how the topic affects my daily stress level.
All are welcome to join in my weekly writing prompt experiment.
Picking a personal value
“Pick one value and write about it for ten minutes. Describe why this value is important to you. Write how you express this value in your everyday life, including what you did today.”
Acceptance – the quality or state of being accepted or acceptable
We all have specific values that have become a part of our personality over the years. Those values are not something that I have given much thought to until recently. One of my values is acceptance. We all like to feel like we belong or accepted by our community, school, or workplace. If not, then questions begin to surface as to why we continue to engage in that setting. But why would I decide that acceptance is a part of who I am?
I have this habit, and I’m sure it bugs the hell out of my co-workers, where I will greet everyone I see no matter how many times we cross paths during the day. I can see the same person ten times within an hour and feel the compulsion to say hi or hello each time. Like I say, this has become more of a habit than a need and developed after working in the retail setting for over five years. The habit has become part of my nature.
Acceptance does matter in other ways. When I enter a room, it is nice to know that those who are there will acknowledge my presence and not completely ignore the fact that I exist. A simple hi or hello suffices.
But I am not without tolerance. I have a high tolerance level for most people, places, and situations which brings me back to acceptance. Accepting something is admitting the situation, person, or location can’t be changed and is beyond control.
So, if you don’t want to say hi, I can tolerate your choice and will accept that this is who you are and we both don’t have the same values.
Acceptance is more than a personal greeting. It is a belief in one’s self and approval for our actions, building on credence that leads to trusting of the self and others.
 (McGonigal 2016, 72)
McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress. New York: Avery, 2016.
What matters more in life?
Money or making a difference in someone’s life?
— poemsdeep (@poemsdeeps) December 2, 2017
I will continue to ask myself over and over why I write and the list continues to grow.
- Communication: Writing is a form of communicating with those not met or seen every day. A friend, a sibling, former co-worker, even someone never met may find a shared experience to be inspirational, helpful or educational.
- Sharing: Experiences are wonderful to share. By sharing the experience the how, why and what will offer insight to what to possibilities for others.
- Caring: Everyone needs something. Caring is part of sharing insights of experiences of how to do something, why to do it, and what the reason was for the experience.
- Business: Writers write, plain and simple. Writing becomes more than a hobby as the experience continues to grow, which leads to greater sharing opportunities that are all part of business as usual.
- Just because I can: The more experience a writer obtains, the more they need to write. Just because, writing is a form of communication just like talking to someone in person. The letter, diary, story, note, message, chat, or phone calls all are forms of communication to not only other people but also to the self.
- Something I like to do: Writing is fun and allows detachment from the current world. Life can be shaped to reflect dreams, illusions, or reality.
- Imagination: A form of dreaming, day dreaming, scurrying the unknown to experience what if possibility. Nightmares can be horrifying, but the disturbing nightmare can be overcome by the power found in imagination. A weapon can magically appear to kill the monster; one only needs to imagine – or think it.
- Creativity: To think something into existence. What is real? Think and see something appear as one wish. What comes first? Imagination or reality.
- Development: Can be personal or creative. Change takes place without one knowing, realizing a plan is in action until all is done and over with the final result or outcome.
- Pondering: Thinking, imagining, wonder, inspiration, and creating a new idea or thought.
- Growth: Personal, knowledge, financial, character, and wisdom are all desirous for any individual.
- Aspiration: What one wants, wishes, and desires in their life. The one and only, the bucket list that never empties.
- Escape: Freedom from the events of the day. An excellent way to release stress and learn to enjoy life once again.
- Experience: What has been learned from doing something, being somewhere, being with whom, and knowing a common knowledge?
- Learning: All that is needed to know how to do something, to be someone, to get somewhere in life.
- Self-discovery: Self-knowledge, knowing who you are, become all that one needs to be, and understanding the self.
- Self-expression: Communicating who we are and what we want and why we want what we want. Just being a being is all one needs to be.
- Experiencing life: Life happens regardless whether we want to be on the boat of life. Open up and know what is happening to experience the storms so one can ride the waves of life without capsizing the boat.
These photos were taken of the MacDowell Lake in Peterborough, NH on May 20, 2017 with Linda’s Alcatel a30 cellphone.