Stress is here to stay.

So instead of fighting and resisting it, how about you make stress your friend instead?

I’ve talked about how we can stop those things that normally stress us to stop stressing us in my podcast episode how to elimniate your stress triggers.

But, that’s not all you can do when it comes to stress… you can make stress your friend!

Now as you know, I’m a big advocate of recognising the good and bad in everything. So while many think that stress is bad, there is also a lot of positive and good in stress. Stress helps us to hit deadlines and it motivates us to take action, but as with most things in life it’s about balance; too much of it and it becomes bad. So we don’t really want to eliminate stress, we simply want to have it under control so that we can tap into the positive aspects.

We want to embrace it!

This podcast is very much inspired by a TED talk I saw recently called Make Stress Your Friend by Kelly McGonigal . Kelly is also the author of an upcoming book called the Upside of Stress and here’s some of the book blurb from her website….

Stanford psychologist and bestselling author Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., – she believes Stress isn’t bad…. In The Upside of Stress, McGonigal highlights new research indicating that stress can, in fact, make us stronger, smarter, and happier—if we learn how to embrace it.

The Upside of Stress is the first book to bring together cutting-edge discoveries on the correlation between resilience—the human capacity for stress-related growth—and mindset, the power of beliefs to shape reality.

McGonigal’s TED talk on the subject has already received more than 6 million views. Her message resonates with people who know they can’t eliminate the stress in their lives and want to learn to take advantage of it. The Upside of Stress is not a guide to getting rid of stress, but a guide to getting better at stress, by understanding it, embracing it, and using it.

So, if stress is big feature in your life, a great place to start might be pre-ordering the book! But here’s the talk…

YouTube video

The key message in her TED talk that really jumped out for me was this;

how we feel about stress is MORE IMPORTANT than the stress itself

I put in bold because it’s THAT important!!

In a nutshell, the research says that those people who believe that stress is bad for you, will suffer the damaging effects of stress, whereas those that believe that stress is good for you won’t. This is even if both groups are living stressful lives. The key difference here is the perception of the stress and not that actual stress.

If you want to get the juicy stats on this, seriously, just watch the TED talk… Kelly puts it all across so well.. a delight to watch!

So it’s a question of belief! All you need to do is to change what you believe about stress … AHA!!!!  Now we’re getting somewhere!

The reason for this is all to do with how our body responds to the stress, and how the body’s response changes depending on how we filter that experience. When we filter the stress through the BAD filter, the body’s stress response is more damaging than when we process stress believing that it’s actually good. The physiological difference in response is staggering..again GO WATCH THE TALK!!!

What I’m interested in HOW we make stress our friend. Well, I’ve got great news for you. If the science says that this is all in the mind, then you’re in the right place, because this is what we do best here!

I’ve come up with the 3 things you need to do to make stress your friend.

The 3 things you need to do to make stress your friend


1. Write down 30 reasons why stress is a good thing

This is a great exercise because it gets our logical rational mind thinking. Much our work here at head trash is deep, deep in the subconscious, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get some work done on the surface too. This is a great place to start. The reason it’s 3o on the list is that you’re going to have to get creative and really think about it. You might even come round to agree, who knows?!

2. Change your belief about stress

The important thing to do here is to neutralise your negative beliefs about stress. This will create the space for a positive belief to take hold and grow. If you want to find out HOW to neutralise your beliefs around stress, the listen to the Busting Bad Beliefs podcast which tells you the exact steps you need to take. it doesn’t take longer than about 20 minutes.. You’ve just got to do this – it might just give you an extra 20 years of life!!

3. Clear your emotions around stress

This one is easy. Just use Head Trash Clearance to clear stress. Simply insert “Stress” into the mantras and you’re good to go.

Now, if for whatever reason you can’t be bothered to do #3, you could cheat… I have an audio session that you buy right here that will do the job instead.


So, there you have it. how to make stress your friend. What do you think? Have you tried this? I’d love to know how you get on with trying this out. Let me know in the comments!

Here are the scientific papers that Kelly refers to in her TED talk and that I touch on during the podcast.

Keller, A., Litzelman, K., Wisk, L. E., Maddox, T., Cheng, E. R., Creswell, P. D., & Witt, W. P. (2012). Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality. Health Psychology, 31(5), 677.
Jamieson, J. P., Nock, M. K., & Mendes, W. B. (2012). Mind over matter: Reappraising arousal improves cardiovascular and cognitive responses to stress. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141(3), 417.
Poulin, M. J., Brown, S. L., Dillard, A. J., & Smith, D. M. (2013). Giving to others and the association between stress and mortality. American journal of public health, (0), e1-e7.