Inspiration – TED Talks: How to Stay Calm When You Know You’ll Be Stressed

TED Talks are quite inspiring, depending on the talk you choose to watch. This is why I started looking for TED Talks that are based around mental health. I came across one by Daniel Levitin, called How To Stay Calm When You Know You’ll Be Stressed.

The talk is based around the fact that you are not 100% yourself when you’re stressed as the brain releases cortisol which makes your brain “cloudy”. This cloudiness hinders your logical and rational thinking – which means you could make stupid mistakes when you find yourself stuck in one of these stressful situations. Daniel Levitin speaks about his own experience of being in that situation and the circumstances of his actions due to his brain being cloudy. He came up with a way to avoid making the stupid mistakes made during these situations, called the “pre-mortem” or prospective hindsight – basically planning ahead for when or if the failures happen by figuring out what you can do to prevent the things from happening or to lessen the damaged caused.

Organisation is key – designating places for things that are easily lost. This method is backed up by science based on how our memory works. So having particular places for certain things keeps you more organised and will be more helpful in the long run if you find yourself in a stressful situation where you need these things. You need to recognize that when you’re under stress you won’t be at your best, therefore you need to put these systems in place when you are experiencing it.

I thought it was a good talk – it was interesting and enjoyable to watch. However, I felt that the title was slightly misleading, as it doesn’t really tell you how to be calm when you’re stressed, but rather how to be prepared for when you’re stressed. It doesn’t tie in as much with my own project as I expected it to, but I still learned that organization is essential to maintain calmness. Being organized on a day to day basis makes your mind less cluttered and you’re not all over the place trying to sort everything out, therefore your mood and overall mental state will improve.

Using the idea of being organized could fit into my app somewhere, like a tracker for moods/diet/exercise etc. Especially as students, we get stressed about work and assignments and deadlines so having a planner or organizer could be really effective to help students be less stressed and more organized.


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