Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

No, stress is not your friend 

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Stress is your friend: this is the big idea of an extremely popular 2013 TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, and the book that inevitably followed it. Supposedly you are insulated from the health consequences of stress and anxiety if you just reframe it as a healthy response to a challenge. It’s nonsense on many levels, basically extravagant overinterpretation of a research artifact, as many critics have explained, but “a lie gets halfway around the world before truth puts on its boots.” McGonigal’s talk has become one of the classic examples of the empty sensationalism of so many TED talks.