When students prepare to measure their shooting skills against Massad Ayoob’s LFI Standards, Mas usually starts the day with a little pep talk that includes some startling information: trembling hands, dry mouth, and a quivering feeling in your gut are all good things. That stressed-out feeling isn’t your enemy. It’s how you know that your body has prepared to fight hard and survive. And when you welcome stress as the friend it is, it can even be good for your shooting skill. “When my hands start to tremble,” Mas says, “I know the adrenalin has arrived. That means I can work harder, run faster, and do better than I otherwise would.”
But do we get the same benefit from daily stress, the chronic kind we all live with? We’ve heard for years that stress is bad for us, that it increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, that it increases the risk of many long-term illnesses. But it turns out that many of the things we thought we knew about chronic stress aren’t true at all. Just as the stress response helps our survival in extreme circumstances, it also helps us navigate the shoals of less outrageous danger and make human connections that see us through the tough times.
Watch the TED Talk below with an open mind. It’s a fascinating look at what we know about stress.