A neat bit of secondary data research appears to show that stress kills. No surprise there, except to say, there’s a catch. Keller et al. (2012) looked back at a 1998 study, and matched 28,753 participants’ mortality against both their stress levels and their attitudes to stress. It would seem that being stressed, and believing stress is unhealthy leads to 43% increased risk of premature death. This compares rather well against those who are stressed but not worried about the heath effects of stress.
Kelly McGonigal talks about this in her 2013 TED talk – How to Make Stress Your Friend.
She highlights a number of other ways in which people’s attitudes to stress can affect physical health – if we believe it so.
The implication for schools is quite profound. We already know that children with a Growth Mindset will do better, be more resilient and develop in more well rounded ways. It would not be hard to weave in to this, the promotion of positive attitudes to stress. This appear to bring many protective qualities.
Keller, Abiola; Litzelman, Kristin; Wisk, Lauren E.; Maddox, Torsheika; Cheng, Erika Rose; Creswell, Paul D.; Witt, Whitney P. (2012). Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality. Health Psychology, Vol 31(5), Sep 2012, 677-684. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0026743