My next book, The Upside of Stress, is now available for pre-order at most major booksellers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million, iTunes Bookstore, and IndieBound (which will direct you to your local independent bookseller).  Release date: May 5, 2015.

About the book:

The author of The Willpower Instinct delivers a controversial and groundbreaking new book that overturns long-held beliefs about stress.

More than forty-four percent of Americans admit to losing sleep over stress. And while most of us do everything we can to reduce it, Stanford psychologist and bestselling author Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., delivers a startling message: Stress isn’t bad. In The Upside of Stress, McGonigal highlights new research indicating that stress can, in fact, make us stronger, smarter, and happier—if we learn how to embrace it.

The Upside of Stress is the first book to bring together cutting-edge discoveries on the correlation between resilience—the human capacity for stress-related growth—and mindset, the power of beliefs to shape reality. As she did in The Willpower Instinct, McGonigal combines science, stories, and exercises into an engaging and practical book that is both entertaining and life-changing, showing you:

  • How to cultivate a mindset to embrace stress
  • How stress can provide focus and energy
  • How stress can help people connect and strengthen close relationships
  • Why your brain is built to learn from stress, and how to increase its ability to learn from challenging experiences

McGonigal’s TED talk on the subject has already received more than 6 million views. Her message resonates with people who know they can’t eliminate the stress in their lives and want to learn to take advantage of it. The Upside of Stress is not a guide to getting rid of stress, but a guide to getting better at stress, by understanding it, embracing it, and using it.

Can’t wait for the book? Watch the TED talk or check out this article from Stanford Magazine about the upside of stress.

In June 2013, I gave my “stress confession” at TEDGlobal in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Find out why I changed my mind about stress, and why embracing stress is more important than reducing stress.
Watch the video, and check out the studies I described in the talk, below:
Keller, A., Litzelman, K., Wisk, L. E., Maddox, T., Cheng, E. R., Creswell, P. D., & Witt, W. P. (2012). Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality. Health Psychology, 31(5), 677.
Jamieson, J. P., Nock, M. K., & Mendes, W. B. (2012). Mind over matter: Reappraising arousal improves cardiovascular and cognitive responses to stress. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141(3), 417.
Poulin, M. J., Brown, S. L., Dillard, A. J., & Smith, D. M. (2013). Giving to others and the association between stress and mortality. American journal of public health, (0), e1-e7.

Since 2009, I’ve worked with the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education to develop and scientifically study programs that train compassion, empathy, and self-compassion, as well as to train professionals in leading such programs worldwide.

Below are some key resources related to this work.

Scientific Articles (Links to Full Text)

A wandering mind is a less caring mind: Daily experience sampling during compassion meditation training. Jazaieri, H., Lee, I.A., McGonigal, K.M., Jinpa, G.T., Doty, J.R., Gross, J.J., & Goldin, P.R. (in press). The Journal of Positive Psychology.

A randomized controlled trial of compassion cultivation training: Effects on mindfulness, affect, and emotion regulation. Jazaieri, Hooria, Kelly McGonigal, Thupten Jinpa, James R. Doty, James J. Gross, and Philippe R. Goldin. (2014). Motivation and Emotion, 38(1), 23-35.

Enhancing compassion: A randomized controlled trial of a compassion cultivation training program. Jazaieri, Hooria, Geshe Thupten Jinpa, Kelly McGonigal, Erika L. Rosenberg, Joel Finkelstein, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Margaret Cullen, James R. Doty, James J. Gross, and Philippe R. Goldin. Journal of Happiness Studies 14, no. 4 (2013): 1113-1126.

Pilot study of a compassion meditation intervention in chronic pain. Chapin, Heather L., Beth D. Darnall, Emma M. Seppala, James R. Doty, Jennifer M. Hah, and Sean C. Mackey. Journal of Compassionate Health Care 1 (2014): 1-12.

The Stanford Compassion Cultivation Training Program

Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) is an 8-week educational program designed to help you improve your resilience and feel more connected to others—ultimately providing an overall sense of well-being. CCT combines traditional contemplative practices with contemporary psychology and scientific research to help you lead a more compassionate life. Through instruction, daily meditation, mindfulness, and in-class interaction, you can strengthen the qualities of compassion, empathy, and kindness.

The senior author of CCT is Thupten Jinpa, PhD, in collaboration with Margaret Cullen, MFT, Kelly McGonigal, PhD, Erika Rosenberg, PhD, and Leah Weiss, PhD.

Visit the Stanford CCARE CCT information page to find certified CCT courses and teachers worldwide, and learn more about the program, including our teacher training process.

CCARE Public Events

The Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education hosts a wide range of public talks and conferences. Many of these events have been recorded and are available to view, for free, on the CCARE website. Check out the CCARE Events page for more information about upcoming events, and the CCARE Videos Archive to view past events.

This 20-min restorative yoga practice is designed to help you relax, unwind, and experience self-compassion. Practice led by Kelly McGonigal, featuring Hattie Bluestone.

This video was created as part of the Boost Your Willpower program, a free 30-day online program to help you reach your goals while cultivating mindfulness, motivation, and self-compassion. Access the full program here.

boostwillpower

This 12-min flow yoga practice uses postures and hand gestures (mudras) to cultivate courage, compassion, wisdom, and acceptance. Practice led by Kelly McGonigal, featuring Hattie Bluestone.

This video was created as part of the Boost Your Willpower program, a free 30-day online program to help you reach your goals while cultivating mindfulness, motivation, and self-compassion. Access the full program here.

boostwillpower

This 21-min gentle flow yoga practice is designed to help you cultivate mindfulness and self-compassion through breath awareness. Practice led by Kelly McGonigal, featuring Hattie Bluestone.

This video was created as part of the Boost Your Willpower program, a free 30-day online program to help you reach your goals while cultivating mindfulness, motivation, and self-compassion. Access the full program here.

boostwillpower

This 23-min flow yoga practice is designed to awaken motivation and help you connect intention and action. Practice led by Kelly McGonigal, featuring Hattie Bluestone.

This video was created as part of the Boost Your Willpower program, a free 30-day online program to help you reach your goals while cultivating mindfulness, motivation, and self-compassion. Access the full program here.

boostwillpower