ACT and Stress (2)


Q:  How can I deal better with my stress?

A:  Make it your friend!

stress friend

Sometimes, just sometimes you read something or you hear something that stops you dead in your tracks.

That happened to me when I stumbled upon a TED Talk give by Psychologist Kelly McGonigal.

“Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while 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. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.”

In the video Kelly makes a powerful case for saying that,

“Stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case.”

She goes further too by suggesting that there is a little known upside to stress which can be remarkably beneficial to us.

I found her talk on “How to Make Stress Your Friend” fascinating.  It made me re-think my attitude to stress.   See what you think?

I wrote “THIS STRESSFUL STATE” to remind me that stress does not have to be pubic enemy number one.  With a change of attitude it can become our friend.


  • What is your attitude to stress?
  • Are you prepared to have a re-think?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.




Water garden MGD©


It could be that we’ve got it wrong, our attitude to stress,

For although we may feel better when we’re not under duress,

Stress is not for demonising, like the enemy at the gate,

It has served us well for ages, so what is this stressful state?

Well it happens when we’re challenged, or we feel we’re under threat,

Fight and flight response is triggered, there to aid us and abet,

And as body starts reacting and our instincts quick kick in,

There is something rather wonderful now happening within.

For when chemicals start surging we’re becoming more alert,

We are poised for fight or flight now, we’ve received the magic spurt,

And we’re ready now for action as adrenaline pumps through,

And if we can change our attitude our body can change too.

For when we view stress more kindly, not as something to abhor,

And applaud the chain reaction as an asset not a flaw,

Then we send a powerful message to the body from the mind

Saying, “We’re stressed, but not to worry,” then the body acts in kind.

And then we can reap the benefits the stress response ignites

When we’re not busy telling stories of how stress the body blights,

For when we see our stress as positive, our evolutionary friend,

Then we no longer make it toxic and our fear of it can end.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “THIS STRESSFUL STATE” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

I found this TED Talk by Kelly McGonigal to be very ACT-like.  Like ACT it is based on the latest scientific research and reinforces a lot of what we learn in ACT.

Kelly says that after a decade of portraying stress as an enemy, the new science of stress has made her change her mind.  Her goal now as a health psychologist has changed.

“I no longer want to get rid of your stress.  I want to make you better at stress.”

Kelly also introduces one of the most under-appreciated aspects of the stress response.  She says that stress makes us social.  She goes on to discuss the importance of the stress hormone oxytocin, “the cuddle hormone” with all its attendant benefits.

Kelly concludes her talk by saying:

“Stress gives us access to our hearts.  The compassionate heart that finds joy and meaning in connecting with others, and yes, your pounding physical heart, working so hard to give you strength and energy.  And when you choose to view your stress in this way you’re not just getting better at stress, you’re actually making a pretty profound statement  You’re saying that you can trust yourself to handle life’s challenges.  And you’re remembering that you don’t have to face them alone.”

What a great talk!  I loved it.

In the Q and A section at the end perhaps the most ACT-like statement of all and I leave you with it now.

“One thing we know for certain is that chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort.  And so I would say that’s really the best way to make decisions, is to go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.”

Rings a bell doesn’t it?

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….


How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes


Published by

Corinne Shields

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, erstwhile teacher for thirty plus years, and permanent student. I have long been interested in psychology and spirituality and enjoy writing inspirational poetry. Hence the publication of this blog at ACT Made I play golf badly, piano a little better and I love reading, writing, and all things French. I divide my time between Wales and France and enjoy travelling with my husband, Len and my dog Charlie.

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