Stress: It’s pretty much unavoidable, yet that doesn’t stop us from coming up with plenty of ways to avoid it. A group of Stanford researchers says that part of the problem might be the way we think about stress. Embracing the reaction—and seeing it as an opportunity to cope with an issue—is associated with better health, emotional well-being, and productivity at work. As opposed to, say, procrastinating or drinking to "release" stress, which encourages more harmful long-term habits.

Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., author of The Upside of Stress, sat down for a Q&A with Stanford’s website, and we loved her three takeaways for rethinking the overwhelming feeling:

  1. "View your body's stress response as helpful, not debilitating. (Consider it energy you can use!)
  2. Realize that you are able to handle—and even learn and grow from—it.
  3. See it as something that everyone deals with, and not something that proves how uniquely screwed up you or your life is."

Check out the full story to learn how stress can make life more meaningful and the specific times when it really is bad for us.

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