Kelly McGonigal

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Kelly McGonigal, PhD

The Neuroscience and Practice of Compassion

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What You'll Learn

  • Learn how to make compassion an energizing and motivating aspect of your work and how to avoid empathy fatigue

  • Explore practical ways to form genuine points of connection with patients and colleagues through small, easy gestures of compassion

  • Join in a brief heart breathing practice to connect with a sense of nourishment and resilience and use it to find strength during any moment of the day

About Kelly McGonigal, PhD

Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University who specializes in understanding the mind-body connection. Her mission is to translate insights from psychology and neuroscience into practical strategies that support personal well-being and strengthen communities. She is the best-selling author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress. Through the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism, she helped create Stanford Compassion Cultivation Training, a program now taught around the world that helps individuals strengthen their empathy, compassion, and self-compassion. You might know her from her TED talk, "How to Make Stress Your Friend," which is one of the most viewed TED talks of all time, with over 20 million views.

Her new book, The Joy of Movement, explores why physical exercise is a powerful antidote to the modern epidemics of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. You can learn more about Dr. McGonigal and her work at her website.

About Parneet Pal, M.B.B.S., M.S

Parneet Pal is the Chief Science Officer at Wisdom Labs, a San Francisco-based company solving for stress, burnout, anxiety and loneliness in the workplace. A Harvard-trained physician, she focuses on the intersection of lifestyle medicine, behavior change and technology and building wiser workplaces using the science of mindfulness, resilience and compassion. A global speaker and podcaster, she loves connecting the dots between personal, social and planetary wellbeing and the future of health. Connect with Parneet on LinkedIn.

What do you think?
Leave a comment below!


  1. KT Rusch October 7, 2020 at 8:24 am

    So much in this talk that I went back and took notes! Thank you Kelly and Parneet. Excellent!

  2. April A Ofenloch October 6, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Outstanding presentation.

    Please tell me where you got that beautiful floral sweater. It’s gorgeous.

  3. Johanna October 6, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks for a really inspiring talk! I Already started to use some of the strategies you shared. Thanks a lot!

  4. Susanna October 6, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    This was such a great presentation. I will definitely watch the TED talk. Thanks to you both. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  5. Rosie McConville October 6, 2020 at 9:43 am

    This session was incredibly useful! I watched half of it before starting over with a notepad and pen. As someone hyper sensitive to others’ pain the practices are a great addition to add to the toolkit. Also found the information about compassion fatigue particularly helpful. Loved the cat and Kelly’s comparison between cat behaviour and our thoughts! 🙂 Thank you very much

  6. Kanwal Preet Kochhar October 6, 2020 at 6:23 am

    Wonderful Can we collaborate I teach physiology at AIIMS Delhi and do Cognitive Neuroscience fNIRS tools

  7. fran delphi October 6, 2020 at 3:24 am

    BRILLIANT. Really wholesomely zestful and encouraging. Love the heart meditation. Thank you so much, Kelly and Parneet.

  8. Mayu Gonzalez October 5, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! Ms Kelly, you are awesome!

  9. Kathy Sanguinetti October 5, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    Thank you both. This was excellent and is getting at the heart of things. I am a therapist working in a community clinic.

  10. Selma Watson October 5, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    Selma Watson Oct 5 2020. at 11.33pm
    Thank you so much for such an inspiration presentation. I am very grateful to you.
    Beautiful cat.

  11. Mery October 5, 2020 at 4:40 am

    Thank you for this great conversation and insight. I really like it.

  12. Yubaraj Adhikari October 5, 2020 at 3:39 am

    WoW, I loved your presentation and simple techniques to overcome day to day distress. Best wishes for everything.

  13. Nadja October 5, 2020 at 1:44 am

    Thank you for your wisdom and insights and the practical tools. As always – I enjoy your passion and your encouragement to think outside of the box. I loved the interview and was applauding a lot (when I didn’t take notes). I agree that we need to find something that works for us personally in the moment (when we cannot influence it, i.e. have no or limited control) and is practical. There is never one strategy nor tool that works for every situation; and even if there would be we always need to be flexible and tweak it (no check-list can cover every scenario!). I loved that you empathised that “resilience and compassion” is not only a personal responsibility but a shared responsibility – i.e. it needs to be supported by the system. And the best solution is problem-solving (i.e. help ending suffering from stress or whatever the adversity may be) rather than accepting status quo and “dealing with it”. Thank you!

  14. Isar B. Wadhwa October 5, 2020 at 1:25 am

    Thank you Drs. McGonigal and Pal! 🙂 Followed Dr. Pal through her conversations this summit and seen Dr. McGonigal’s TED talk previously, so great to see another perspective and topic of discussion

  15. Jean Ellis-Sankari October 4, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Thank you so much! Wonderful enthusiasm and useful strategies. Love the hands on the back! Love breathing from the heart.

  16. Jean Ellis-Sankari October 4, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    Thank you so very much for this conversation. I really appreciate the wisdom and practical strategies shared with us!
    Love the image of hands on the back and breathing in and out from the heart.

    • Johanna October 6, 2020 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you for a really inspiring talk! I already started to use som strategies that you shared, thanks a lot!

  17. Sharon Greenlee October 4, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    An Outstanding and easy to understand presentation by an enthusiastic informed and skilled presenter.
    I Loved Every Minute!
    Thank You…I also totally enjoyed the person who introduced and interacted with you!!
    Beautiful Cat!

  18. Elzbieta October 4, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    Your presentation and the practice clarifies the concept of compassion and empathy. Thank you very much.

  19. Gene October 4, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Thank you very much for your presentation. Love the cat strolling through!

  20. Danny Crowley October 4, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    kelly is the greatest of all time.

    the cat is good in the background was also good.

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