Why Stress is Good for You

As you well know if you have been following Meditation Practices for a while, I am a big fan of Kelly McGonigal and her wonderful work at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University. Her new book, The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It just came out in May and I am eager to read it.

One way to think about the First Noble Truth of suffering is to call it the noble truth of stress. This has been pointed out to me by Thanissaro Bhikkhu in his new book, Skill in Questions: How the Buddha Taught.

Kelly Mcgonigal“My curiosity about how your attitude toward stress influences its impact sent me on a search for more evidence. I wanted to know: Does how you think about stress really matter? And if believing that stress is bad is bad for you, what’s the alternative? Is there anything good about stress that’s worth embracing? …

The latest science reveals that stress can make you smarter, stronger, and more successful. It helps you learn and grow. It can even inspire courage and compassion.

The new science also shows that changing your mind about stress can make you healthier and happier. How you think about stress affects everything from your cardiovascular health to your ability to find meaning in life. The best way to manage stress isn’t to reduce or avoid it, but rather to rethink and even embrace it.

So, my goal as a health psychologist has changed. I no longer want to help you get rid of your stress—I want to make you better at stress. That is the premise of the new science of stress, and the purpose of this book.“
-Kelly McGonigal – The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh once said to Oprah Winfrey,

happiness and suffering support each other. To be is to inter-be. It’s like the left and the right. If the left is not there, the right cannot be there. The same is true with suffering and happiness, good and evil. In every one of us there are good seeds and bad. We have the seed of brotherhood, love, compassion, insight. But we have also the seed of anger, hate, dissent.

So I think that Kelly is on the right of research into how stress is good for us. What do you think about “good stress,” or as Laura Silva says, eustress?

Books by Kelly McGonigal

The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It

Kelly McGonigal

The author of The Willpower Instinct delivers a controversial and groundbreaking new book that overturns long-held beliefs about stress.

More than forty-four percent of Americans admit to losing sleep over stress. And while most of us do everything we can to reduce it, Stanfo… [Read More…]

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