Trust and acceptance have been themes that I have explored a lot, particularly during the last year, when I have been building foundations for my work as a Zen coach. I have been experiencing stress at times, but because my effort has felt so rewarding, I have kept going.
Then a couple of days ago I ran across a very interesting video on TED talk that gave me a new perspective to trust and acceptance with relation to stress. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, presented results of some recent scientific studies on stress. Her short talk gave me real moments of illumination.
I won’t go into the scientific details. McGonigal explains them much better than me. You can watch the video at the end of the post, but here’s a few discoveries that will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life:
- When you experience stress, it is your body helping you to rise to the challenge you’re having. Appreciate your body for its response – the pounding heart and the constricting blood vessels. How you think about stress matters. Don’t consider it your enemy, but your ally.
- Your stress response has a built-in mechanism for stress resilience, and that mechanism is human connection. ( This is related to a hormone called oxytocin that the body pumps out during stress response, just as it does adrenalin.)
- When you choose to view your stress as helpful, you create the biology of courage. When you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience.
And then the important and big discovery, particularly from the point of personal growth and happiness:
- Chasing meaning in life is better for your health than avoiding discomfort. Go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.
Here’s the video:
P.S. Yes, to celebrate 2014 I decided to change the appearance of the blog. Not much, but a little. I still like simple, minimalist style.