TED演讲:如何跟压力做朋友

凯利·麦格尼格是一位心理学家,同时也是美国斯坦福大学的教授。她在演讲中鼓励人们用更积极的态度看待压力,并且介绍了一种从未被提及的减压方式:帮助他人。如果你觉得压力大,可以来看一看。

凯利·麦格尼格(Kelly McGonigal )

观看链接

以下为演讲全文(中英双语版)

I have a confession to make. But first, I want you to make a little confession to me. In the past year, I want you to just raise your hand if you’ve experienced relatively little stress. Anyone?

我要跟大家坦白一件事,但首先,我要各位也对我坦白,如果相对来说,你去年压力不大的。请举手,有吗?

How about a moderate amount of stress?

那觉得承受的压力算普通的呢?

Who has experienced a lot of stress? Yeah. Me too.

有没有倍觉压力的?看来我们都一样。

But that is not my confession. My confession is this: I am a health psychologist, and my mission is to help people be happier and healthier. But I fear that something I’ve been teaching for the last 10 years is doing more harm than good, and it has to do with stress. For years I’ve been telling people, stress makes you sick. It increases the risk of everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease. Basically, I’ve turned stress into the enemy. But I have changed my mind about stress, and today, I want to change yours.

不过这不是我要坦白的,我要坦承的是,我一名健康心理学家,我的职责就是让人们更健康快乐。不过我担心自己这10年来传授的,与压力有关的内容恐怕弊多于利。这些年我不断跟人说,压力会让人生病,患有从一般感冒到心血管疾病的风险,都随之升高,基本上我把压力当作敌人。但我对压力的看法已经变了,而我今天就是要让你们改观的。

Let me start with the study that made me rethink my whole approach to stress. This study tracked 30,000 adults in the United States for eight years, and they started by asking people, “How much stress have you experienced in the last year?” They also asked, “Do you believe that stress is harmful for your health?” And then they used public death records to find out who died.

先来谈让我对压力,另有看法的研究。这研究追踪在美国的3万名成人,历时8年,研究首先问这些人“去年你感受到了多大压力?”同时问他们“你相信压力有碍健康吗?”之后研究人员以公开的死亡统计,找出参与者中去逝的人。

Okay. Some bad news first. People who experienced a lot of stress in the previous year had a 43 percent increased risk of dying. But that was only true for the people who also believed that stress is harmful for your health.People who experienced a lot of stress but did not view stress as harmful were no more likely to die. In fact, they had the lowest risk of dying of anyone in the study, including people who had relatively little stress.

好,先说坏消息,前一年压力颇大的人,死亡的风险增加了43%。但这只适用于那些相信压力有碍健康的人。(笑声)承受极大压力的人,若不将此视为有害,死亡的风险就不会升高。事实上,与压力相对较小的,研究参与者相比,这样的人死亡风险反而最低。

Now the researchers estimated that over the eight years they were tracking deaths, 182,000 Americans died prematurely, not from stress, but from the belief that stress is bad for you.That is over 20,000 deaths a year. Now, if that estimate is correct, that would make believing stress is bad for you the 15th largest cause of death in the United States last year, killing more people than skin cancer, HIV/AIDS and homicide.

研究人员花了8年,追踪死亡案例,18.2万美国人过早离世,原因并不是压力本身,而是认为压力有害的这个想法。(笑)估计超过2万人符合这情形,若估计正确,“相信压力有害”就成为美国去年的第15大死因,致死率更胜皮肤癌、爱滋病和谋杀。

You can see why this study freaked me out. Here I’ve been spending so much energy telling people stress is bad for your health.

你们应能体会为何这研究让我担心害怕了,我一直努力告诉他人 压力有碍健康。

So this study got me wondering: Can changing how you think about stress make you healthier? And here the science says yes. When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.

因此这研究使我想知道,改变对压力的看法,是否能促进健康?显然科学对此抱以肯定,改变看待压力的方式,生理上的压力反应亦随之改变。

Now to explain how this works, I want you all to pretend that you are participants in a study designed to stress you out. It’s called the social stress test. You come into the laboratory, and you’re told you have to give a five-minute impromptu speech on your personal weaknesses to a panel of expert evaluators sitting right in front of you, and to make sure you feel the pressure, there are bright lights and a camera in your face, kind of like this.And the evaluators have been trained to give you discouraging, non-verbal feedback, like this.

我来解释为什么会这样。假设你参与一项意图使你紧张的研究中,就是所谓的“社会压力测试”,你进入实验室后,才知道要发表5分钟的即席演说,这段演说以个人缺点为题,眼前的听众将是一群专业评审,为了确认你确实感到压力,镜头和灯光都会聚焦在你脸上,有点像现在这样!且评审都经过培训,用令人沮丧的非口语言词给你回应,就像这样。

Now that you’re sufficiently demoralized, time for part two: a math test. And unbeknownst to you, the experimenter has been trained to harass you during it. Now we’re going to all do this together. It’s going to be fun. For me.

就在你已够泄气时,第二场好戏上演了:数学测验,且你们事前不知道,实验己设定成受测者会被干扰,现在我们一起做做看,很好玩的,至少对我来说昰这样。

Okay.

(Laughter)

I want you all to count backwards from 996 in increments of seven. You’re going to do this out loud, as fast as you can, starting with 996. Go!(Audience counting)Go faster. Faster please. You’re going too slow.(Audience counting)Stop. Stop, stop, stop. That guy made a mistake. We are going to have to start all over again.(Laughter)You’re not very good at this, are you? Okay, so you get the idea. If you were actually in this study, you’d probably be a little stressed out. Your heart might be pounding, you might be breathing faster, maybe breaking out into a sweat. And normally, we interpret these physical changes as anxiety or signs that we aren’t coping very well with the pressure.

好,现在你们开始倒数,从996开始,每数一个数减7,要大声地数,越快越好,从996开始,开始!(观众纷纷数箸)请快一点!你们太慢了,停……停……停,那个人算错了,所以我们得重来一次(笑),这方面你们不太行,对吧?现在大家弄清楚是怎么一回事了。若各位也参与这项研究,可能会有点神经紧张,也许会心跳加速、呼吸急促,甚至满身大大汗,通常我们将这些生理变化,称为焦虑,或代表压力失调的信号。

But what if you viewed them instead as signs that your body was energized, was preparing you to meet this challenge? Now that is exactly what participants were told in a study conducted at Harvard University. Before they went through the social stress test, they were taught to rethink their stress response as helpful. That pounding heart is preparing you for action. If you’re breathing faster, it’s no problem. It’s getting more oxygen to your brain. And participants who learned to view the stress response as helpful for their performance, well, they were less stressed out, less anxious, more confident, but the most fascinating finding to me was how their physical stress response changed.Now, in a typical stress response, your heart rate goes up, and your blood vessels constrict like this. And this is one of the reasons that chronic stress is sometimes associated with cardiovascular disease. It’s not really healthy to be in this state all the time. But in the study, when participants viewed their stress response as helpful, their blood vessels stayed relaxed like this. Their heart was still pounding, but this is a much healthier cardiovascular profile. It actually looks a lot like what happens in moments of joy and courage. Over a lifetime of stressful experiences, this one biological change could be the difference between a stress-induced heart attack at age 50 and living well into your 90s. And this is really what the new science of stress reveals, that how you think about stress matters.

但若将这些现象当成身体活力充沛的象征,表示已准备好迎接挑战,又会怎样呢?在哈佛大学所进行的一项研究中,他们正是这样告诉受试者的,在社会压力测试开始前,受试者学着将压力反应当作助力,心跳加速是蓄势待发,呼吸急促也不要紧,这是为了让大脑得到更多氧气。受试者中,那些学会将压力反应想成有助表现的人,比较不会忧虑紧张,焦虑少了,信心反而倒提升了。但最令我着迷的发现是,受试者生理上压力反应改变的方式,典型的压力反应是,心跳加速,血管收缩成这样。这也是为何长期压力,有时会与心血管疾病有所关连的原因之一。总是如此,对健康不是好事。但在这项研究中,当受试者把压力反应看作是有帮助的,他们的血管就会像这样放松,他们的心脏仍在强力收缩,但心血管系统的样子比较健康。事实上看起来更像,感到兴奋和鼓起勇气时的样子。要克服人生中的各种压力,这样的生理差异足已产生。50岁时,因压力导致心脏病发以及健康活到90多岁的区别,最新的压力研究结果便是如此,如何看待压力至关重要。

So my goal as a health psychologist has changed. I no longer want to get rid of your stress. I want to make you better at stress. And we just did a little intervention. If you raised your hand and said you’d had a lot of stress in the last year, we could have saved your life, because hopefully the next time your heart is pounding from stress, you’re going to remember this talk and you’re going to think to yourself, this is my body helping me rise to this challenge. And when you view stress in that way, your body believes you, and your stress response becomes healthier.

所以我身为徤康心理学家的目标也改变了,不再想要帮人摆脱压力,而是让人更善于处理它。刚才我们所做的就是疗程的一小部分,如果你刚才举手表示,去年压力很大,我们可以拯救你,因为,但愿下次,压力使你心跳加快时,你会记得今天的演讲。然后,你会自我盘算,这是我的身体在帮助我准备迎接挑战,当你如此看待压力,身体会信任你的判断,而你的压力反应就更健康了。

Now I said I have over a decade of demonizing stress to redeem myself from, so we are going to do one more intervention. I want to tell you about one of the most under-appreciated aspects of the stress response, and the idea is this: Stress makes you social.

曾有10年的时间我视压力为恶,为了自我改正,我们接下来再做一趟疗程,我想跟你们谈谈,压力反应中,最受忽视的部份 这部分的概念是,压力让人有社交能力。

To understand this side of stress, we need to talk about a hormone, oxytocin, and I know oxytocin has already gotten as much hype as a hormone can get. It even has its own cute nickname, the cuddle hormone, because it’s released when you hug someone. But this is a very small part of what oxytocin is involved in.Oxytocin is a neuro-hormone. It fine-tunes your brain’s social instincts. It primes you to do things that strengthen close relationships. Oxytocin makes you crave physical contact with your friends and family. It enhances your empathy. It even makes you more willing to help and support the people you care about. Some people have even suggested we should snort oxytocin… to become more compassionate and caring. But here’s what most people don’t understand about oxytocin. It’s a stress hormone. Your pituitary gland pumps this stuff out as part of the stress response. It’s as much a part of your stress response as the adrenaline that makes your heart pound. And when oxytocin is released in the stress response, it is motivating you to seek support. Your biological stress response is nudging you to tell someone how you feel, instead of bottling it up. Your stress response wants to make sure you notice when someone else in your life is struggling so that you can support each other. When life is difficult, your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you.

要了解压力的这部分,我们要先谈一种叫“催产素”(OT)的激素。我知道在激素中“催产素”掀起许多热潮,甚至有个可爱的小名,叫“拥抱激素”。因为拥抱时就会产生这种激素,但这只是它的一小部分作用。催产激素是一种神经激素,能微调大脑的社交本能,让人为增进密切关系,所需的努力做好准备。催产素让人渴望亲友间的肢体接触,强化同理心,甚至让人更愿意对关心的人,伸出援手及给予支持,甚至还有人建议。为了更有同情心和关爱,我们应吸一点这种激素。但关于催产素,大多数人都不知道,它是一种压力激素,由脑下垂体分泌,是压力反应的其中一环,和肾上腺素一样,都是压力下让人心跳加速的反应之一。在压力反应中加入催产素,便会驱使人寻求支持,生理上的压力反应,让人想要找他人倾诉,而不是闷在心里。压力反应确保人会注意,周遭有人陷入挣扎。因此我们能相互扶持,当生活陷入困难,压力反应让你希望,身旁围绕着的都是关心你的人。

Okay, so how is knowing this side of stress going to make you healthier? Well, oxytocin doesn’t only act on your brain. It also acts on your body, and one of its main roles in your body is to protect your cardiovascular system from the effects of stress. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory. It also helps your blood vessels stay relaxed during stress. But my favorite effect on the body is actually on the heart. Your heart has receptors for this hormone, and oxytocin helps heart cells regenerate and heal from any stress-induced damage. This stress hormone strengthens your heart.And the cool thing is that all of these physical benefits of oxytocin are enhanced by social contact and social support. So when you reach out to others under stress, either to seek support or to help someone else, you release more of this hormone, your stress response becomes healthier, and you actually recover faster from stress. I find this amazing, that your stress response has a built-in mechanism for stress resilience, and that mechanism is human connection.

好的,那了解压力这方面的事,又怎会让我们更健康呢?其实催产素不只影响大脑,对身体也有作用。其中一个主要生理功能,就是保护心血管系统,免于压力影响,是天然的抗炎成份,还能帮血管在压力下保持松弛。但我最爱它对心脏的生理效果,心脏有许多催产素的受体,这激素还能促进心脏细胞,从压力导致的损害中恢复再生。这种压力激素可强化心脏,且最棒的是,社交接触和社会支持,会增强它有益生理健康的好处,所以与人接触时感受到压力,不论是求助或协助他人,这种激素的分泌都会增加,压力反应因此更健康。你能更快地从压力中恢复,我认为这很奥妙,压力反应本身,竟有减压的机制,这机制就是人际关系。

I want to finish by telling you about one more study. And listen up, because this study could also save a life. This study tracked about 1,000 adults in the United States, and they ranged in age from 34 to 93, and they started the study by asking, “How much stress have you experienced in the last year?” They also asked, “How much time have you spent helping out friends, neighbors, people in your community?” And then they used public records for the next five years to find out who died.

最后我想谈另一个研究,听仔细了,这研究也可救人一命,研究追踪约1千名美国境内34到93岁的成人,研究一开始就问“你去年有多大压力?”接着又问:“目前你花过多少时间,帮助邻居朋友,和邻里中的其他人?”他们以这之后五年内的公开档案,找出死亡人口。

Okay, so the bad news first: For every major stressful life experience, like financial difficulties or family crisis, that increased the risk of dying by 30 percent. But — and I hope you are expecting a “but” by now — but that wasn’t true for everyone. People who spent time caring for others showed absolutely no stress-related increase in dying. Zero. Caring created resilience.And so we see once again that the harmful effects of stress on your health are not inevitable. How you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience. Now I wouldn’t necessarily ask for more stressful experiences in my life, but this science has given me a whole new appreciation for stress. Stress gives us access to our hearts. The compassionate heart that finds joy and meaning in connecting with others, and yes, your pounding physical heart, working so hard to give you strength and energy. And when you choose to view stress in this way, you’re not just getting better at stress, you’re actually making a pretty profound statement. You’re saying that you can trust yourself to handle life’s challenges. And you’re remembering that you don’t have to face them alone.

好,先说坏消息,任何引起重大压力的生活经验,像财务困难或家庭危机,会让死亡的风险增加30%。但是,我希望各位正期待有所转圜,并非每个人都这样。那些花时间关心他人的,他们的致命风险完全不受压力影响,关爱造就韧性,我们再次见证。压力对健康的危害,并非无法避免。人的想法和行动,可以转化压力的经验。当人选择将压力反应,当作助力,生理系统也跟着无所畏惧,面对压力,选择人际互动,便能造就韧性。我不一定会希望,生活中有更多压力经验,但这样的科学实证,让我对压力有全新的正面看法。压力让我们跟自己的心沟通,同情心在人际交流中,得到快乐和意义。是的,加速的心跳,为的是努力产生力量和能量,当你如此看待压力,你不只更善于处理压力,还实际作出深刻的宣示,等于在说:你相信自己,能应付生命中的挑战,然后你想起,自己并非单独面对这一切。

Thank you.

(Applause)

Chris Anderson: This is kind of amazing, what you’re telling us. It seems amazing to me that a belief about stress can make so much difference to someone’s life expectancy. How would that extend to advice, like, if someone is making a lifestyle choice between, say, a stressful job and a non-stressful job, does it matter which way they go? It’s equally wise to go for the stressful job so long as you believe that you can handle it, in some sense?

克里斯·安德森:你说的这一切颇为神奇,我对压力能大幅影响预期寿命这个观念,感到十分惊讶,但如何将之应用到咨询中呢。像是,有人要对他的生活方式作选择,例如,在备受压力的工作和舒适安逸的工作之间选择,选哪个重要吗?就某方面而言,只要相信自己能胜任,选择压力大的工作,是否也不失为明智的选择?

KM: Yeah, and one thing we know for certain is that chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort. And so I would say that’s really the best way to make decisions, is go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.

凯利·麦格尼格尔:是的,而且有一件事是确定的,也就是,相对于逃避不安,追求意义对健康比较好。因此我会说,最好的选择方式就是,选择那些你认为对人生有意义的事,然后相信自己能应付随之而来的压力。

CA: Thank you so much, Kelly. It’s pretty cool.

克里斯·安德森:非常谢谢妳,凯利,这真是太棒了!凯利:谢谢!

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