Preventing, reducing and assisting recovery from stress in the workplace are topics that are in high demand with coaches. And the countless ads promoting relaxation techniques and spa treatments could easily make us believe that stress is our worst enemy — an enemy that must be defeated at all costs. But is this really the case?

Recently, Kelly McGonigal, an American psychologist, got to the bottom of this matter. She encourages us to make stress our friend rather than trying to shut it out. Not viewing stress as an enemy can help us to live longer and have a more fulfilled social life!

One of the study’s findings is that those individuals who experience similar stress levels - but without thinking that it will harm them – have a lower risk of getting sick or dying than the rest of the population. In other words, the 20,000 stress-related deaths per year in the United States are more likely the result of an erroneous conviction of the victim than stress itself. Here we are again dealing with the issue of “Resilience” even if it is not explicitly (or just once briefly) named as such.

It is my fundamental conviction that it is rarely something in and of itself that stresses us. Indeed, much more often the stress results from the opinion/attitude that we (or others) have about a “stress factor”.

If you are interested in the topic of stress, perhaps you should let yourself be inspired by the 15-minute-long lecture and then reflect on your own attitude toward stress triggers. Surely you know of incidents where alone through your approach and attitude, you were able to turn a mountain back into the molehill that it really is. I carried this attitude to a recent yoga lesson. I was determined to be able to endure (and almost enjoy) my least favorite yoga positions by imagining that not a position itself - but rather my attitude towards it - was the root of all evil.

Click here to get the (English)TED Talk. I welcome your feedback! Have fun!

Your coaching expert in Berlin

About the author

Esther Kimmel is a job, business and start-up coach in Berlin, certified by the German Association of Coaching (DCV).

She has worked with and coached various entrepreneurs, freelancers, executive and specialist staff working in creative or consulting professions, and has helped them overcome various challenges and bring about change in their lives. Since 2009, she has consulted and worked with over 400 clients at various levels of the organisation.

 

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