Podcast: Kelly McGonigal

Podcast: Kelly McGonigal

Ben Krantz

Rabbi Rami speaks with our January/February cover subject, Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.

You may know Kelly McGonigal from her popular TED talk, “How to Make Stress Your Friend,” or read her previous books, The Willpower Instinct, The Science of Compassion, and The Upside of Stress.

A health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, McGonigal's work has focused on the mind-body connection, and seeks to share scientific insights with the public, turning them into practical strategies to support well-being. In this installment of "Essential Conversations," Rabbi Rami speaks with her about her latest book, The Joy of Movement, which explores how physically moving the body is not only a way to treat depression, anxiety, and loneliness, but also a powerful way to connect and promote cooperation with other humans.

Moving literally builds joy in the body via specific receptors and hormones, according to McGonigal. When talking about movement, she does not emphasize forcing yourself to exercise with a capital E, that you must get to the gym; it's about experiencing what your brain and body are meant to do. Whether dancing, hiking, cycling, power lifting, walking, or in a yoga class, we are training our mental strengths of persistence, endurance, and faith.

“Your biochemistry will shift to support feelings of optimism and energy. If 20 minutes is too much, start with 20 seconds, and that is not an exaggeration.” There is not an objective goal you need to meet to get the benefits of movement. Start where you are, McGonigal says, and choose to be active in whatever way you can, because using our bodies is one of the ways we know we are alive.

Pick up our January/February 2020 issue to read more about Kelly McGonigal and the joy of movement. (Subscriber log in required, or if you do not already subscribe and would like to, click here.) Want more interesting people and discussions? Subscribe to our free podcast, any time, here.

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