After watching Kelly McGonigal’s TED Talk over stress, I was motivated in my own life. Kelly came prepared to the talk with a ton of evidence and hours upon hours of research to present to the audience. She seems very credible in the fluidity of the presentation and the factual statements backed up by numbers and research from her team. In her talk she discussed how the human being could eliminate stress by adjusting to it, not only physically but emotionally as well. If we could eliminate the factor of stress and treat it as a positive factor rather than a negative factor we can turn the negative side effects of stress into positive ones. The numbers that Kelly brought to show just how real of a factor stress is were incredible and completely changed my mind on what stress is and just how much of an impact it has on every day life.

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FIP- Stress

In her TEDTALK, Kelly McGonigal discusses how believe that stress if bad for their health leads to even worse health than stress itself. She proposes that if we changes how our minds interpret health, we can change how our bodies react to stress. If we are taught to rethink our stress responses as things that help us to perform tasks can make us more motivated, confident and we can perform better. If we think of our stress as helpful, the stress on our hearts can be less and prevent stress related heart attacks and other complications. McGonigal also talks about how stress makes us social. Oxytocin is a hormone that is released when we are stressed and stress makes us want to be around people who care about us when we are stressed. Oxytocin is released and oxytocin can help heal damage on the heart that is related to stress. So oxytocin can help us reduce harmful effects of stress on our health.  In my life, I can use McGonigal’s ideas on how to view stress to help me calm down and be more effective when I am stressed. I can view stress as a positive thing that keeps me motivated to succeed.

FIP – Stress

This week in Psychology, we were given a Ted Talks video to watch, in which health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, discusses the important role that stress plays in our lives.


Whenever someone mentions the word “stress”, people tend to think about the negative ways in which it impacts our lives.  Kelly McGonigal, however, offers a different perspective on stress and proposes the idea of it being a good thing to have.  She talks about the psychical symptoms that stress can often cause a person to experience, such as an increased heart rate and sweating.  These uncomfortable symptoms couldn’t possibly be benefiting our overall health and well-being, could they?  Dr. McGonigal goes to explain how, yes, these psychical reactions to stressful situations are actually working to help the body during these times.  It is only society’s skewed perception of stress that makes it potentially unhealthy for us int he long run.  Multiple studies discussed in the Ted Talk showed that regardless of the amount of stress someone was under, how they viewed their stress is what ultimately affected their health.  In one study, participants were asked how much stress they had gone through that year and also how much time they had spent helping people either in their family, friend groups or in their community.  For the next five years, records were kept of deaths that occurred of the participants.  At the end of the study, results showed that for every significant, stressful life event that occurred, increased the risk of dying by 30%.  This fact would seem to favor the idea that stress is bad for your health.  The study also found, however, that those who helped others around them, experienced no increased risk of death.  This further proves the theory that thinking about your stress in a positive light can change the way it affects you and your body.  Once the psychical symptoms of stress are viewed as your body’s way of helping you, it truly does change the way, in which, stress impacts your health.  Applying this concept to my own life can definitely work to benefit not just my health, but my mental state.  Thinking about my schoolwork and other things in life can become overwhelming at times.  But focusing on my stress as something there to help me through these times will most likely assure me that what I’m feeling is normal and will ultimately lead me to live a longer and healthier life.


I elected to go with Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk about making stress your friend.  I was highly surprised about the fact that stress if used the right way can actually help your heart.  How oxytocin works is something I new at least in part but I never knew it could work so effectively during stress even going so far as to help heal your heart from stress related damage  Kelly was highly competent in her explanations being a psychologist at Stanford University.  I can definitely use this information to help with my stress because I definitely have plenty of it.  It can help me focus whether I am stressed out at class.  It is also highly helpful when I am dealing with either my son’s or my medical issues.  So I look forward to applying this to everyday life in the hopes that it can potentially help my health versus stress always hurting it.

Managing Stress

In Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk, she discusses how a change in your perception of stress can change its physiology. It is no mystery that prolonged stress is detrimental to your health, but thinking about stress as a way that your body energizes itself could completely negate the negative effects of stress. I wanted to believe these claims however the more I watched the TED talk the less I believed in the speaker’s claim.

At first I found the speaker credible because she shared that she’s a health psychologist, but that trust was broken as she continued to talk. The studies she presented to back up her claim had little weight behind them. She discussed the death rates of people that viewed stress as a negative influence in their life, but failed to discuss why these people died. Were their deaths stressed related? There is correlation but no causation. Maybe changing your perspective on stress can ease some of your stress, but the underlying reason for that stress will still negatively impact your health. In the end, stress is a mechanism to prepare you to perform; it wears on your body over time. I believe in moderation; some stress is necessary to meet goals that you set for yourself. Reducing stress should still be a goal for those that have a lot of stress in their life, but I do agree that changing your outlook on a situation can be powerful. It can incite you to finish your work so you spend less time stressing over it. In the future, I’ll try changing my outlook on stress but I’ll also focus more on preventing excess stress in the first place.

Week 12 First Impression- Stress & Emotion

Kelly McGonigal’s Ted talk on stress was extremely interesting and made me think about stress in a whole new way. McGonigal is a health psychologist that had be teaching about the negative impacts of stress for many years. Like her, I had always heard that longterm stress can be very harmful. I have always feared becoming permanently affected by the large amounts of prolonged stress I have experienced as a pre-med student. This fear of stress is precisely what McGonigal discussed. She explained that if we change the way we think about stress, we can change the way our body responds to stress. She based this theory on a study that tracked 30,000 adults for 9 years. The participants were asked how much stress they were experiencing and how harmful they believed this was. The results showed that there was a 43% increased chance of dying in only those who believed stress was harmful. The result of this study was astonishing to me.  Can how we perceive stress really save our lives? This is a hefty claim and I think I would have to look into the study itself to make a decision on how valid the results really are or if they are due to chance. Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist so I would assume that she is a credible source and that she did look at the study in depth and its methods before making any claims from its results.

Some of these claims, however, do seem logical if we stop to think about it. From my own personal experience, I know that when I let stress and anxiety get to me, I eventually breakdown. However, if I take a moment to organize by thoughts and step back for a moment, I can deal with the stress by planning things out and taking them on set by step. Therefore, not letting stress get the best of me can really increase my performance. McGonigal also discussed the neurohormone oxytocin. She explained that it is released when we experience stress and it motivates us to seek support and comfort in others. This seems very true. When I am super stressed, I’ll usually talk, or more often vent, to my parents about everything that is going on. I would have never imagined that this behavior is actually promoted by a hormone. As McGonigal said, its like our body has a mechanism built within the stress mechanism that aims to protect us from any harmful effects.

I think the most important take-away from this is that the way we think about our situation determines how we will react to it. We can view each challenge in a more positive light by finding our innate qualities, including biological responses, that can be used as strengths. Having a more positive mindset in each situation can definitely help us have better control over it.


What is stress? One way to define stress is as a state of mental or emotional strain resulting from differing or very demanding circumstances. This week I had to watch a Ted Talk video titled How to make stress your friend, in which Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, discusses not only how stress can be positive and but ways in which stress can positively influence a person’s body and daily life. In that video, Kelly McGonigal was able to completely turn my point of view on stress around. There were several tests performed that shows people who view stress and the reactions that it causes as beneficial, not only did better in the tests but apparently Kelly McGonigal also stated lived better and lived longer. And all individuals have to do is view stress and all of its reactions as good and not negative.


As I was watching this video I went through several phases of reactions. At first I was confused about how stress can actually be good for people’s health; then I become startled by the research that proves that stress can be healthy; and lastly I became hopeful and elated because I go through so much stress and it frustrates me and the thought that I can actually make stress a positive influence on my life just sounded miraculous. And to add to my happiness I discovered that the information that Kelly McGonigal discussed is actually very credible. In the footnotes of this Ted Talk she referenced several website sources that not only support her findings, but also contain the information in which she was discussing in her presentation.


After watching Kelly McGonigal Ted Talk video I plan on implement some of the ideas into my life. I am usually become very stressed in my daily life as a college student because I just have so much to do, very little time to get it all done, and then finding time to the other things I need to accomplish. This is video is helpful because it can teach me to be more positive, change my perspective on stress, try to become closer to my friends and family, and be more willing to help others when they are in trouble, instead of just focusing on the mountain of paper work I need to complete. By implementing viewing stress as a positive reaction, I can hopefully become healthier, more social, and live longer. On a ending note I found this Ted Talk video be very reasonable but also very inspiring and educational.



Works Cited


McGonigal, Kelly. “How to Make Stress Your Friend.” Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend | TED Talk | TED Talk, June 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2017. <;.


          Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist who discusses stress in her TED talk. She says that she used to see stress as an enemy, but she has changed her perspective. She cites a study that tracked 30,000 people throughout a year. In the study, people who had a high level a stress and also believed stress was bad for your health were 43% more likely to die, but people who had high levels of stress and did not consider stress to be bad for you did not have a higher rate of death. The study estimated that over the eight years they tracked deaths, 182,000 people died prematurely from believing stress is bad for you. She also discusses the social stress test which involves a speech and a math test while people are giving negative feedback. People who viewed their body’s responses as helpful were less stressed out and their physical stress response changed. Normally, people’s blood vessels constrict when under stress which is bad for the person’s health, but if a person saw their stress as helpful, their blood vessels did not constrict.

          She then discusses oxytocin which is a stress hormone that promotes social contact. In the stress response, it directs you to find support. It is an anti-inflammatory hormone, and it helps heart cells to regenerate and heal from damage from stress. The benefits of this hormone are increased from social support. She then discusses another study that tracked 1,000 individuals. They found that every major stressful experience increased the rate of dying by 30%, but the people who spent time with others found no stress-related increase in dying. She concludes that choosing the way we view stress and act can change our lives for the better.

          I really enjoyed this TED talk. I thought the speaker was credible since she is a health psychologist and backed her claims up with scientific studies. I think for me to fully believe her claim that your perception of stress can change your physiological reaction to it, I would need to see more studies done, but she points out something really interesting that I had never considered before. I found the message to be reasonable, and I want to believe her claim. It seems evolutionarily beneficial for the stress response to help, rather than to hurt you, and I thought the studies she cited helped her claim to seem reasonable. She did not discuss how these findings may differ for people with anxiety or depression, and I would imagine that having a mental disorder would make it much more difficult to simply change the way you view stress.

          I definitely want to try having this more positive outlook on stress! I find myself being so stressed out that I become stressed about having stress, which is a cycle I would like to break out of. There is no harm in viewing stress from a more positive angle, and I hope this helps me to use stress to my advantage.


First Impression Post: Stress


In the Ted talk video, Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend, she talks about the topic of stress and how the body of an individual can make stress their friend not an enemy. KellyMcGonigal is a health psychologist who has experimented with stress and advising people how to prevent stress but she learnt that stress can also be good.Kelly  talks about the hormone oxytocin that is released in the body when experiencing stress and how this hormone interacts with social interaction in the real world.I was shocked with the number of deaths of people dying because of the belief of stress. The numbers of people dying from the belief of stress was 182,000 that 43% of the USA population and is ranked 15 in the top causes of death in the United States. Kelly researchers have researched stress over the past 8 years which leaves me questioning how reliable and accurate are the results and statistics of the test.

Kelly McGonigal informs the audience that believing in stress is what causes negative performances in life but if you change your thought of stress then it will let your body change the response to stress. Stress can be help with a person’s social life by seeking help or helping a person out, be more outgoing, and it can help a person with giving them the energy to finish work before a deadline.I would use stress in a positive way by giving me the determination to finish my work before a deadline and to do better with my school work.

Making Stress Your Friend

In her TedTalk, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal says she wants to make you “better” at stress, as she claims stress makes you social. She discusses 3 studies in the talk. The first study was what caused her to change her mind about the way she viewed stress. The study involved tracking the stress levels of 30,000 adults in the U.S. for 8 years. The results showed people who were stressed while finding stress to be harmful had a 43% greater chance of dying. Those who were stressed but did not find stress to be harmful had the lowest risk of dying, even compared to those who experienced little stress. Basically, the study revealed one becomes more vulnerable to premature death by being stressed about stress. Although the study revealed interesting results and had a large sample, it may not be completely trustworthy. The way the researchers operationalized their variables in terms of how they actually measured stress and risk of death was not mentioned. I was surprised at how she made it appear that this one study alone caused her to change the way she looked at stress for herself and for others. This lack of triangulation does not add credibility to her ideas. In addition, the large sample used in the study took place on people in the U.S., which shows the results are not completely generalizable. I think she should have searched for/mentioned other studies which could have supported the idea. Claiming that being stressed about being stressed increases the risk of premature death is a big thing to say and I think multiple supporting sources are needed before you can just preach something like that.

The second study she mentioned was a social stress test done at Harvard. Results showed that when participants viewed stress responses as helpful,  their blood vessels stayed relaxed and refrained from constricting. Again the way the researchers defined their variable was not mentioned. I think this study is more easily supported by scientific methods. I also liked this study because it indirectly showed how each and every one of us has self-control over our stress. I believe you only succumb to stress when you allow yourself to. The study showed that by not allowing yourself to view stress in such a negative way, you can in fact control the effects of stress on your body.

She discussed the way in which Oxytocin promotes a stress response which makes you feel the need to be surrounded by people who care about you. I do not completely agree with this. Based on personal experience and the experiences of others in my life, being stressed may make you purposely try to isolate yourself, especially if the stress comes from school. The final study she mentioned concluded that caring creates resilience, which ties in to the prior discussion about Oxytocin. Finally, when being interviewed after the talk, she stressed the importance of meaning in life decisions. She basically stated that meaning facilitates your trust in thinking you can handle stress. I agree with this because meaning plays a strong role in many psychological aspects, such as memory.