Healthy psychologist Kelly McGonigal explains that one way to overcome stress is by making it your friend.
Although stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. The study tracked 30,000 individuals in the United States and asked them did they feel any stress (and how much) the last year. Also, they asked whether they believe that stress is harmful to their health. After comparing the answers to public healthy mortality records, they found that those who said they felt a lot of stress and said that they believed it is harmful to their health had a 43% chance of dying the next year. However, those who said they had a lot of stress but believed that stress is good had mortality rates comparable to those individuals who said they had only a little stress the previous year.
Kelly urges you to perceive stress as positive. When your mind says it is positive, your body reacts in the same way. As an example, a study measured the constriction of blood vessels and the heart rate during a stress test. Usually, during stress, the heart rate goes up and the blood vessels are constricted. In the participants that perceived stress as helpful, although the heart rate increased, the blood vessels remained relaxed. This is a good sign where the body is preparing for the stress.