Drawing from groundbreaking research, psychologist and award-winning teacher Kelly McGonigal, PhD, offers a surprising new view of stress—one that reveals the upside of stress, and shows us exactly how to capitalize on its benefits.
You hear it all the time: stress causes heart disease; stress causes insomnia; stress is bad for you! But what if changing how you think about stress could make you happier, healthier, and better able to reach your goals? Combining exciting new research on resilience and mindset, Kelly McGonigal, PhD, proves that undergoing stress is not bad for you; it is undergoing stress while believing that stress is bad for you that makes it harmful. In fact, stress has many benefits, from giving us greater focus and energy, to strengthening our personal relationships.
McGonigal shows readers how to cultivate a mindset that embraces stress, and activate the brain's natural ability to learn from challenging experiences. Both practical and life-changing, The Upside of Stress is not a guide to getting rid of stress, but a toolkit for getting better at it—by understanding, accepting, and leveraging it to your advantage.
About the Author
Kelly McGonigal, PhD, is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, and the author of the international bestseller The Willpower Instinct (Avery, 2011). As a leader in the field of "science help," McGonigal is passionate about translating cutting-edge research from psychology, neuroscience, and medicine into practical strategies for health, happiness, and personal success.
McGonigal has taught for a wide range of programs at Stanford University, including the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Business, and Stanford Continuing Studies, where her popular public courses include "The Science of Willpower" and "How to Think Like a Psychologist." She has received Stanford's highest teaching honor, the Walter J. Gores award, for her undergraduate psychology teaching. Through her work with the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, she studies methods for training mindfulness, empathy, and compassion. Her research has appeared in such journals as Motivation and Emotion, the Journal of Happiness Studies, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Advance Praise for The Upside of Stress:
“In this smart, practical book, Kelly McGonigal shows that stress isn’t nearly as bad as its reputation. In fact, if we change our mindsets just a bit, we can transform stress from a barrier that thwarts to a resource that propels us. The Upside of Stress is a perfect how-to guide for anyone who wants to tap into the biology of courage and the psychology of thriving under pressure.” —Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human
“A fascinating tour of cutting-edge research on how stress affects us in ways, both good and bad, that we never suspect. McGonigal brings scientific studies to life, makes her lessons tangible and provides fascinating take-aways for anyone who experiences stress -- which, let's face it, is all of us, often all the time.” —Charles Duhigg, MBA, author of The Power of Habit “A courageous, counterintuitive, and convincing case for a big idea: stress can be good for you. This enchanting, evidence-based book has already transformed how I think about stress, and I recommend it highly to anyone who lives in the 21st century.” —Adam Grant, Ph.D., Wharton professor and author of Give and Take “Through stories and science, McGonigal reveals how to change your mindset and tap into your resources for handling stress.” —Amy Cuddy, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Harvard Business School and author of Presence “The Upside of Stress turns our common misunderstanding of what we often believe is the necessary toxicity of a pressured life completely upside down. Kelly McGonigal powerfully teaches us how to transform the suffering of misguided stress into a meaningful and thriving life. Read this book even if you think you are too stressed to take the time--It has the potential to change your life forever.” —Daniel J Siegel, M.D., author of Mindsight and Brainstorm "Often we regard stress as a regrettable but necessary evil -- the heavy price we pay for achievement in a fast-forward, competitive, “always on” world. In this important and engaging book, Kelly McGonigal challenges us to discard that familiar, fear-based mindset and embrace stress as a path to realizing our most creative potential." —Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes “Kelly McGongial debunks decades of myths that have persisted around stress. The book is research based, immensely practical, compelling and insightful from the first page. This book will be a game changer for countless people.” —Jim Loehr, EdD, Co-Founder of the Human Performance Institute and author of The New Toughness Training for Sports “The Upside of Stress delivers an important truth: it is better to chase meaning than try to avoid discomfort. Through the insights of this book, you'll find your courage to pursue what matters most and trust yourself to handle any stress that follows.” —Nilofer Merchant, CEO, Silicon Valley strategist, and author of The New How “Kelly McGonigal has pulled back the curtain to reveal what allows exceptional people and organizations like my Navy SEAL brotherhood to thrive through adversity. True excellence is only achieved under great adversity, and by embracing those challenges with a positive mindset.” —Scott Brauer, Co-Founder of Acumen Performance Group, and former Navy SEAL and U.S. Naval Officer
"The upside of Kelly McGonigal is that she not only shows how what we thought we knew about stress was backwards, but that getting it right will change your life for the better. This book provides an accessible user’s guide to leveraging the most cutting edge research in psychology and neuroscience to enhance your health and well-being." —Matthew D. Lieberman, PhD, Chair of Social Psychology at University of California Los Angeles
For those individuals and teams that discover that stress is life's secret ingredient, they will be rewarded with expanded self confidence and rapidly growing organizations. —Robert Daugherty, chairman of Knowledge Investment Partners, LLC
If you’ve ever complained of being stressed out, you need to read this perceptive, thought-provoking book. Kelly McGonigal reveals the surprising truth about why we should embrace the many unsung benefits of stress. The Upside of Stress will change the way you think—and it will change your experience of your life. —Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before and The Happiness Project The message that stress can actually convey health benefits is important and needs to be heard. This thoughtful analysis on the role of mindset will prompt you to re-think your relationship with stress, and help you realize its benefits. —Andrew Weil, MD, author of Spontaneous Happiness
Praise for Kelly McGonigal and The Willpower Instinct:
"Tired of the endless debate about whether man possesses free will or is predestined to lounge about gobbling Krispy Kreme donuts while watching TV? If you want action, not theory, The Willpower Instinct is the solution for the chronically slothful." —USA Today
“A fun and readable survey of the field, bringing willpower wisdom out of the labs.” — TIME magazine