TED Talks to Inspire and Enlighten In These Trying Times - Hello Student

TED Talks to Inspire and Enlighten In These Trying Times

One of the most common problems facing people in lockdown all around the world is boredom. What do I do with all this spare time? How do I make the best of it? Well, perhaps the finest balance struck between feeling productive and moderate laziness is settling into a TED Talk, the popular online talks designed to spread ideas and think about the world in a different way.

Sometimes we can all do with a new perspective or a new angle on things and right now that message is particularly pertinent. Here are a few useful TED Talks to help with your approach to lockdown.

The gift and power of emotional courage – Dr Susan David


The isolation of lockdown will have opened us up to a wide range of emotions that many of us haven’t encountered or acknowledged before. Dr. Susan David’s talk champions the idea of allowing your emotions to take hold and being flexible about the way that we allow emotion to manifest itself. If you feel that you are struggling to emotionally comprehend the current situation, Susan David’s talk may help you to channel your emotions into positive, agile action.

What fear can teach us – Karen Thompson Walker


Writer Karen Thompson Walker picks fear apart in her popular talk, questioning human responses and our perspective on the idea of fear and it’s negative connotations. Walker attempts to change our approach to fear, seeing it as a tool for positive change rather than something to avoid. Lockdown has created a host of new fears and what we can take from Walker is to listen to the most realistic fears and how acknowledging and acting upon them can be helpful towards our wellbeing and the wellbeing of others around us.

The happy secret to better work – Shawn Anchor


Psychologist Shawn Anchor dissects the relationship between success, workload, and happiness in this fast-paced, funny, and engaging TED Talk. Anchor suggests a reversal of the mantra ‘hard work = success = happiness’, noting that happiness becomes almost impossible to achieve when we are constantly trying to exceed our achievements. Right now, I’m sure many people are struggling with productivity – especially those who are trying to acclimatise to working at home.

With the pressures of social media and seeing what other people are achieving during their own experiences of lockdown, we can become despondent and feel that we are not doing enough. What we can take from Anchor in these times is learning to appreciate what we have and what we have achieved – no matter how small that is – and using the happiness derived from that to build towards better successes and not the other way around.

How to deal with difficult people – Jay Johnson


If you find yourself stuck at home a lot at the moment, you may find family members or housemates’ behaviour starting to grate on you. This may just be a form of cabin fever or it may be legitimately bad behaviour on their behalf. Behavioural expert Jay Johnson champions the notion of altering our own behaviour so that we can be better prepared to react to another person’s poor behaviour. By having an effective, non-aggressive/argumentative solution, we can better deal with other people’s behaviour and hopefully improve it for the better.

How to make stress your friend – Kelly McGonigal


Psychologist Kelly McGonigal is trying to change the way we think about our stress by making it an ally not an enemy. Ultimately, McGonigal puts forward the idea that we shouldn’t be eliminating stress but trying to use it in a positive way. As a result, stress could cease to be debilitating; it becomes a bodily response that helps us deal with the hurdles that once led to negative stress. Choosing to see your stress response as helpful, creates a better system for dealing with stress and helps us see it as a positive response from our body. Right now, stress is to be expected. But by seeing that stress as something positive, as a way that our body prepares us for adversity, we can begin to tackle it in a courageous and collaborative way.

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