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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ICU Japan chapter.

I, like many others, had TedTalks imposed upon me during class all the time in high school. Most of the time, I honestly would just tune them out and forget all about them the next day. But let me tell you, there were some that have stayed with me to this day and have shaped the person that I am now. They have made me rethink the way I choose to live and have oddly also made my life easier. Without further ado, here are three TedTalks that changed my life for the better.

How to Make Stress Your Friend by Kelly McGonigal 

This TedTalk by Kelly McGonigal has actually made my life easier. She says that from a study of 30,000 people over the course of eight years, they found that stressed people were more likely to die if they believed that their stress was harmful. Meanwhile, people who were stressed but viewed their stress as helpful were far less likely to die than those who thought it was harmful. The main takeaway from her TedTalk was that, we can harness our stress to benefit us by simply rethinking it as a way to “energize” us to prepare and take on challenging tasks. Changing our minds about stress can actually physically change the way our bodies respond to it, which could ultimately save our lives. Personally, I feel so much better just thinking about stress as a natural response to new challenges, and am much more grateful for my body’s ability to prepare me for the future.


The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown 

Brene Brown found through many years of research that people who have a strong sense of belonging and worthiness also see vulnerability as an essential part of life. She says that in order to have genuine connections with others, we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable. By this, she means that we have to have the courage to be our authentic selves, be compassionate towards ourselves, and make uncomfortable choices. This includes being the first ones to start a conversation or even just making sure to get that annual check-up with your doctor. She says we cannot avoid vulnerability without avoiding happiness, creativity, and love. After listening to this TedTalk, I actually would remind myself to be more vulnerable in my daily life. It has helped me with making new friends in new countries, pursue my dream career, and find my authentic self. 

The Skill of Self-Confidence by Dr. Ivan Joseph

Just as the title of the Tedtalk implies, Dr. Ivan Joseph speaks about how we can learn to have self-confidence just like we learn any other skill. The most profound part of his talk was when he explained how self-confidence is just something that has to be practiced and is not often something we are born with. Through repetition and persistence, we can convince ourselves that we are confident. By actively recognizing your accomplishments and giving yourself positive self-talk, you can significantly improve your belief in your abilities. I have always struggled with self-confidence and this talk made me realize that I should not give up on myself. I decided that if I did not put in the effort to try to learn to be self-confident, I would always be dissatisfied with myself and hold myself back. Today, I still would not say I am fully self-confident but now I do take solace in knowing that it is just something I am working toward and can one day achieve. 

Final Thoughts 

From these TedTalks, I have learned to become comfortable with my anxiety and be more vulnerable in my life. I have gotten to know more of my authentic self and have stopped limiting my abilities based on my own negative self-talk. It has expanded my view of my future and has simultaneously helped to make my life easier knowing that I do not need stress about stress or worry that I am not good enough. Needless to say, I hope you watch these TedTalks because they have really helped me and you should never underestimate the power of a good TedTalk.