Stress Is Your Friend

Stress Is Your Friend

I recently watched a brilliant TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, a popular health psychologist. What I learned has largely changed the way I think, not only about stress, but also about my everyday worries and habits.

One of Kelly’s points is related to a recent stress study conducted by the University of Wisconsin that tracked 30,000 adults in the US over a period of 8 years. Researchers asked how much stress people perceived in their lives, and whether or not they thought that experiencing stress was harmful for their health.

“Here’s the bad news”, McGonigal says “people who experienced a lot of stress had a 43% increased risk of dying…but that was only true for the people who also believed that stress was harmful to their health. People who experienced stress, but did not believe that it was bad for their health, did not have any increased risk of death. In fact, their risk of death was lower than those who had little to no stress in their lives.”

The rest of the talk was also brilliant, and you should certainly take 15 minutes today to watch it. This particular point, though, is the one that stuck with me.

What we believe dictates what our body does.

What we believe impacts our daily thoughts and actions in a very practical way.

What we believe can be the difference between life and death.

This makes me rethink the actions, thoughts, and beliefs that I carry around every day. What do my daily reactions to stress and circumstance tell me about what I believe?

Watch the full talk below:

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Paul Wolpe launches BEINGS, a global summit bridging the gap for biotech

Paul Wolpe launches BEINGS, a global summit bridging the gap for biotech

Since Paul Wolpe’s talk on bioethics at TEDxPeachtree 2010, his talk has been featured on where it has received almost one million views and spurred much debate about the guidelines and rules, or lack thereof, governing the world of biotechnology.

Most recently, through his work with Emory University’s Center for Ethics, Wolpe has founded Biotechnology and the Ethical Imagination: A Global Summit (BEINGS). BEINGS is the first event of its kind to bring the public together with academic, civic, corporate and political leaders from 30 countries together to discuss the complicated implications and regulations of biotechnology. More than 1,000 participants will meet and address issues such as cloning, stem cell research, labeling laws for genetically modified products, and more May 17-19 at the Tabernacle in downtown Atlanta.

If you would like to attend this historical event, registration is now open on the BEINGS website, You can follow along with updates on the summit on twitter at @beings2015 or on Facebook at

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From Being Color Blind to Now Color Brave

From Being Color Blind to Now Color Brave

In May of 2014 in Vancouver, Canada,  investment expert Mellody Hobson took to the TED 2014 stage to talk about being brave. Being conversationally and socially brave, she dared to talk about race, as uncomfortable as that topic may be, standing firmly on the belief that this conversational “third rail” is the only way that to break free of the walls that racial divides have created in the United States. Recent events, ranging from those in Ferguson, Missouri to Sanford, Florida, have proven that the way we attempt to traverse our racial and cultural differences needs to change.

Anecdotally, Hobson takes us on a journey through moments when people have been called upon to challenge societal norms and comfort levels. Her challenge for us all is to be color brave and not color blind. Further, the concept of being “color blind” can lead to forgetfulness. It can cause us to forget that there may be races and nationalities who aren’t included in spaces and places we normally find ourselves in. To create the best community, Hobson contends, we have to include these individuals, we have to include all individuals. It has been proven that diversity leads to the most successful business, living, and educational settings.

Hobson draws our attention to how, from classrooms to boardrooms, today’s racial divide has the possibility of holding back yet another generation in the margins of our educational institutions and corporations. We must not be blind, but be brave, in order to stop the cycle.

Her talk has garnered both thumbs ups and thumbs downs on the TED YouTube channel. As she notes, race is a touchy subject and there are people who don’t want to talk about it. More importantly, they don’t want it talked about. For those who sit quietly by, perhaps it is time to join this important conversation.

Decide for yourself, watch her TED talk here.


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M.PinkeltonPhotoMaria Pinkelton is the Communication Specialist for the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University. She lives in Decatur with her husband and son, along with a fine collection of books, craft beers and size 11 shoes.

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10 TED Talks Curated to Inspire Your Year

10 TED Talks Curated to Inspire Your Year

As you get into the thick of January and attempt to face the cold and keep the dreams for this year alive, here is a playlist curated by TED to help you refocus on your values and fan the flame of creativity. Highlights include a talk by Kelly McGonigal about how to make stress your friend. She will turn your fear of stress into a motivation to use it to your advantage. Verna Myers shares about walking boldly towards overcoming bias and embracing diversity. To finish the series, Andy Puddicombe encourages a mindful practice and how even just 10 minutes can change your outlook.

Prepare to be inspired, challenged, and engaged. Ready, go!




Nia_Baker_BioPicNia Baker has been thrilled to serve as the TEDxPeachtree Content Manager this year. Having roots in Atlanta almost ten years, she has worked in the nonprofit sector for the last five, focusing on effective systems and creative communication. She will complete her Masters in Professional Counseling and Trauma Specialization this spring and believes in the dignity of each experience. Nia enjoys running past Atlanta street art, steaming French press coffee, and a really effective adjective.



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