We’re all trying to get more done but be less stressed out while achieving it, right? There’s a particular item on every too-busy person’s to do list and I’d like to know if you’re happy with it being there, or if it bothers you.

It’s that ever-present but always low-down item … you know, the yoga class / marathon / massage / meditation course that will inject more balance into your life? Does it make you feel good to have those unmet plans lingering? Or are they actually contributing to your stress?

I know what the answer is for me… so I’m sharing something powerful with you. See a little while ago I came across a TED talk from Kelly McGonigal.Kelly (a Stanford Uni psychologist) revealed an 8 year study of over 30,000 adults, where they asked 2 questions then monitored subsequent death records.

Did I mention yet that the study was on the impacts of stress?

So the 2 questions:

“Have you experienced significant stress in the last year?”


“Do you believe it’s harmful?”

Now you’d probably imagine that the group who answered yes to the 1st question had the highest risk of dying (43%). You’d be right – but ONLY if they also answered yes to the 2nd question too. In fact those who answered yes, they had experienced significant stress BUT NO, it wasn’t harmful? They had the LOWEST risk of dying.

So in fact stress itself is not harmful to you. The belief that stress will kill you, is what will kill you.

In Kelly’s TED talk, she references another study and solutions to help you embrace the reframe. Let her shift your perspective on stress. Instead of panicking when you start to feel stressed, embrace the sensation of heart beating fast, breathing heavy and know that it’s your body preparing you to meet a challenge. After all, even before you read this, you knew that your heart beating fast and breathing getting heavier wasn’t always a bad sign, right? 🙂
So if that yoga/marathon/masseuse on your to-do list is bothering you, then scrub it off without guilt free and embrace your body’s ability to rise to any challenge. Feel stressed? Remind yourself: You got the goods, honey. You’re prepared, you have solid expertise. YOU GOT THIS!

Cath Nolan
An executive coach and CEO at Gender Gap Gone, Cath is renowned for her expertise in individual and organisational development. With over 16 years experience consulting to over 500 businesses globally in this space, Cath has coached over 300 individuals and worked with some of Australia’s best loved and most recognised brands.
Cath is a frequent key note speaker nationally, invited to share the stage with leaders of industry on Leadership and Career Advantage, particularly for women and diversity groups.
This article was originally published on Gender Gap Gone, 22nd February 2016. View original article.