Her book changed my whole entire life.
Seriously, it’ll not only add more years to your life but more fulfillment and satisfaction too. And who doesn’t want that?
I remember being taught that stress would kill me. That I should avoid it at all costs. That it would send my blood pressure through the roof, fry my adrenals, and make my heart explode. And then I’d be dead. All because of this fiendish creature called stress.
I took this info and ran with it, delivering sermons about the egregious consequences of the stress monster to my health coaching clients and to all who would listen on my YouTube channel. Bewaaaare!
In hindsight, it made the perfect excuse for not pursuing my dreams. Because there’s this one thing about getting out of your comfort zone and going after what you want. It get stressful. And stress kills people, ya know.
Yeah, my dreams were important. But I also wanted to be healthy, live a long life, and keep my ticker in one piece.
But then again, can you really be “healthy” when your unfulfilled dreams eat away at your soul all day?
Is a physically intact heart really something to treasure when the well-intended choice to elude discomfort leaves it existentially broken?
At some point, my splintered heart and half-devoured soul got together, had a good talk, and decided to buck the system. To embrace reality. To dive into the stress pool.
Truth be told, the waters were surely chaotic but not nearly as bad as I’d imagined. Though I certainly felt like I was sacrificing my health, the sense of fulfillment I felt from going after my dreams seemed like a fair trade.
Little did I know that I could have both….
Fast forward to 2015, when I stumbled upon a book called The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You and How to Get Good at It by Dr. Kelly McGonigal.
Hold up, Doc. How can stress be GOOD for me when all of the health experts (myself included) are telling horror stories about heart bombs, cooked adrenals, and early graves?
And that’s when I found out that it’s not really stress itself that can damage our health. It’s the way we perceive stress.
I learned that stress actually increases one’s sense of well-being, productivity, satisfaction, and happiness. And get this … the higher a country’s stress index, the higher its average life expectancy.
Suddenly it all made sense. Because after taking the leap into the stress pool, my yearly bouts of depression disappeared. I was happier. More productive. I had a sense of purpose and meaning in my life.
That’s what stress does. So says science. So says experience.
What I had spent years avoiding was in fact exactly what I needed. Yeah, I’ve overdone it a few times. Nobody’s perfect. But if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that there’s no joy in being miserably healthy. It is indeed possible to tackle your dreams and thrive physically. To have both. To be uncomfortably healthy. So says science.
Today on The Quote of The Day Show, Dr. McGonigal explains why shifting how you perceive stress can be one of the most empowering and life-extending choices you’ll ever make.
When you change the way you see stress, the way stress affects you changes.
Click the PLAY button above to listen to QOD episode #160 with Dr. McGonigal.
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Happy Thursday, friends.