How to Make Stress Work for Your Business

Updated on 28 May 2014

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How to make stress work for you and your business


It’s always been thought that stress is bad for you. As a small business owner managing a business, its finances and employees in uncertain economic times, stress can overpower your life.

This doesn’t have to be the case says Kelly McGonigal, health psychologist. McGonigal holds positions at Stanford Graduate School of Business and the School of Medicine.

Her TedX Talk, entitled  ‘How to make stress your friend’ has been viewed almost 6 million times.

In it she argues that there are some benefits to stress that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Three ways to make stress work for you: 

1. ‘Changing what you believe about stress can make you healthier’

According to McGonigal, new science of stress reveals stress itself is not harmful. McGonigal says stress is only bad for your health if you believe it’s bad for your health. Change your belief about stress and change the impact it has on your mind and your body.

Stress is only bad for your health if you believe it’s bad for your health

2. ‘Your body’s response to stress is your body preparing you to meet challenges’

It’s time to rethink your body’s stress responses, says McGonigal. Physical changes like increased heart rate, faster breathing and sweating should not be viewed as signs of anxiety or the inability to cope, but rather be seen as your body preparing you to meet challenges. Your pounding heart is delivering more blood to your body, faster breathing means more oxygen to your brain so you can think better etc. McGonigal says people who view their physical stress response as helpful were less stressed out, less anxious and more confident.

3. ‘Stress makes you more social’

According to McGonigal, oxycontin, neurohormone which forms part of your body’s stress response makes you crave contact with friends and family and enhances empathy. This means when life is hard your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people you care about and makes you more willing to help and support them.

Oxycotin is also has physical benefits which act to counteract the effects of stress including: protects cardio vascular system from the effects of stress, helps heart cells regenerate from any stress, induced damage i.e strengthens your heart.

Watch: How to Make Stress your Friend

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