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Book Review: The Upside of Stress - Why Stress is Good for You and How to Get Good at It

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

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The Upside of Stress - Why Stress is Good for You and How to Get Good at It by Kelly McGonigal, PhD

There are several books I’ve read that I would legitimately describe as “life changing”. Books are so powerful! This one – The Upside of Stress by Dr. Kelly McGonigal – is no exception. I loved it.

It’s chock-full of fascinating science and research but presented in an accessible way. While reading this book, I cannot tell you the number of times I said to my husband, “Oh WOW. Listen to THIS!” In the second image in this post, you can see how many pages I dog-eared; it’s practically the entire book. (I probably should have just dunked the whole thing in highlighter.)

Here are three painstakingly selected favourite excerpts from the book to give you a glimpse into what it’s all about.

“[…] people who believe stress is enhancing are less depressed and more satisfied with their lives than those who believe stress is harmful. They have more energy and fewer health problems. They're happier and more productive at work. They also have a different relationship to the stress in their lives: They are more likely to view stressful situations as challenges, not an overwhelming problem. They have greater confidence in their ability to cope with those challenges, and they are better able to find meaning in difficult circumstances.”

“[… ] if you put a wider lens on your life and subtract every day that you have experienced as stressful, you won't find yourself with an ideal life. Instead, you'll find yourself also subtracting the experiences that have helped you grow, the challenges you are most proud of, and the relationships that define you. You may have spared yourself some discomfort, but you will also have robbed yourself of some meaning.”

“[Being good at stress is] not about being untouched by adversity or unruffled by difficulties. It's about allowing stress to awaken in you these core human strengths of courage, connection, and growth. Whether you are looking at resilience in overworked executives or war-torn communities, the same themes emerge. People who are good at stress allow themselves to be changed by the experience of stress. They maintain a basic sense of trust in themselves and a connection to something bigger than themselves. They also find ways to make meaning out of suffering. To be good at stress is not to avoid stress, but to play an active role in how stress transforms you.”

Thank you for reading!


LORA Concepts Inc.

workplace engagement & well-being

p.s. The information, insight, and advice I share through my work is meant to exist alongside whatever else you may be doing to bolster your mental health, manage stress, or improve your well-being. Nothing I share is meant to replace directives or treatment plans provided by your doctor, therapist, or other healthcare professional.



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