My TED talk is on how stress impacts our bodies and brains. My main focus questions are “What happens to our bodies and in our brains when we are stressed?”, “What causes us to be stressed?”, and, “How can we relax?”. Throughout this ted talk we also explore a bit about what it feels like to have a panic  attack. It all starts with a tremble…

TED Talk notes (they are not in sequential order yet, see outline for sequence)

TED talk outline

TED Talk script

TED Talk presentation

TED Talk bibliography (arranged by last name of author)


  1. I loved your ted talk, Melissa! It was a great topic choice, and I found it super interesting to listen to, throughout the entire video. I found all of the information you were talking about was really applicable to everyone in TALONS and in fact everyone in general. You had very clear points in your Ted Talk and it was easily followable. As well as this, your slides did a great job of illustrating what you were trying to say. The most interesting slide for me was the one that showed the human brain without and then with music. It is amazing to see what an effect music has. Do you know what sort of music they were playing for that photo? I did also have a few other questions I wanted to ask you about your topic. Here they are:

    1. When you were talking about how music has a calming effect, and increases productivity, you mentioned how classical is the best. Would any sort of music be better than no music, or is slow or classical music the only kind that helps?

    2. You also mentioned a list of the things that music can help with, and one of them was burn out. What exactly is burn out?

    3. You had an interesting point about the fight, flight, and freeze responses, and how you would get a different one depending on the situation. However, I was wondering if a person would be more likely to get one of the responses due to their specific personality, or if all of it is just on the situation?

    I think that my favorite part of your ted talk was the fight, flight, and freeze part, because I am really interested in neuroscience and the human brain (thats what I did my ted talk on, go watch it!!!) and it was really intriguing to see where that response comes from and what the brains “reasoning” is for that response. Great job on your ted talk!

    • Those are all great questions. I don’t actually know the answer to your first and third questions at the moment but I will look into them and get back to you! The exact definition of burnout is “Physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.” Basically, when you have been under a lot of chronic stress (prolonged amounts of intense stress), at some point you will experience physical and emotional exhaustion, detachment or cynicism, or feeling unaccomplished. Thank you for your feedback Tori!

  2. Your Ted talk is so good Melissa!
    I really like the fact that you’ve also included methods on how to relax, instead of just talking about the science behind stress! The pictures were very helpful in aiding your content. They’re simple yet related to the context and fit harmoniously with the talk! Not only that, I think your voice projection and volume was perfect.
    I know a really good TED- Ed video on how stress affects your body more in the long-term that you might be interested in!
    I was wondering why we would get suicidal feelings when we have the fight response because technically stress is a natural instinct that helps us cope with danger to survive. So if our brain is trying to survive, wouldn’t suicide do the exact opposite?
    I genuinely enjoyed your TED Talk and I think you did a fabulous job on it! Congratulations! Incredible TED Talk!

    • Thank you for your feedback Deon! I would think that we would feel suicidal feelings when we have the fight response because if you go into a fight you are aware that you might get injured or hurt from it yet you still made that choice to go into a fight rather than running away. Cool, I will definitely watch that TED-Ed, thank you!

  3. Really well done, Melissa! It was an amazing and engaging talk, and started off with a very powerful intro – you delivered it so well that I felt anxious watching it! It felt almost like a slam poem, and must have taken several tries to film it and nail it, but, rest assured, the final result was spectacular. The introduction also flowed very well into your outline. I really liked how you used a lot of scientific knowledge in the first few minutes, and I learned several terms and definitions that I didn’t know before. The list of stressors you read out was also very effective as well, and I could find several of them that are stressors for me. The use of your body language was very well executed: it was natural, but still communicated the interest you had for your topic and how passionate you were getting. The use of several slides, and simple, identifiable images really added to your presentation. One of the things I enjoyed most about your talk was how interactive it was, from identifying stressors that I could think about when I was watching (as mentioned above), as well as asking whether I was a fight, flight or freeze reaction in life-or-death situations (I’m fight). You also spent the majority of your talk focused on ways to relax, which definitely was a good choice.

    I had a few questions about your topic: have there been any scientific studies completed about stress, and in the future, it would be a huge addition to reference them in your talk, show graphs and models, etc. For example, it is proven that classical music has a positive effect on your brain (as seen in the picture you displayed), but what tests confirm that fact. Also, is it possible that worrying can be a good thing for you as well, since it can help identify problems that you can solve, and also forces us to do brave and courageous acts?

    Extraordinary job, Melissa! I loved it.


    • Thank you for all your helpful and really nice feedback Lucas! Glad to know that you learned new scientific terms and definitions, I definitely learned a bunch of new terms too from researching this ted talk. Also good to know that the visuals I chose added to the presentation. There have been numerous amounts of studies done about stress and how it takes its toll on our bodies and brains, I will definitely look into these for the future, thank you for the suggestion. :) There is a well known study on how classical music stimulates the brain and its called “The Mozart Effect”. The ‘New Scientist’ states that listening to Mozart improves memory and learning. The University of Southern California did tests on this where they play classical music in the background at lectures/while students are studying. The results of their study was that, “having classical music playing in the background at lectures or while studying create a heightened emotional state that makes you absorb information better.” Another study done showed that Mozart’s music has similar rhythmic cycles as our brains. This was tested with Alzheimer’s and epileptic patients. Listening to classical music had a positive effect on cerebral activity and calming the brain’s electric activity (causing less seizures).
      It isn’t good to cut worrying completely out of your life because a little bit of everything is healthy. Which is why creating a worry period is good. Although it may help us to say out of trouble sometimes, excessive worrying does cause damage to our health and well being.
      Thank you for watching my ted talk! :)

  4. Really great Talk Melissa, and the slideshow worked really well to enhance your talk instead of being to distracting(i.e. too much writing), but not to the point of unhelpful, as it was really great to have visual cues to help us understand. One thing that I think you could have improved on is not treating it like a school project. I know that it is a school project, but instead of being a Talon and talking 20 000 words a minute, trying to get as much information out and the way it all connects, it would have been better for you to slow down, and engage your audience in deep thought, as well as explaining how to destress on a more peer to peer basis, rather than a more teacher to student manner. This, I think, would have let your talk get more of a message across to help people destress. I just have one question and that is is stress genetic? As in, if all your environmental factors are the same, would some people be more susceptible to stress, anxiety and panic attacks than others?
    Overall am enjoyable and informative talk.

  5. Wow Melissa that was a amazing and informative talk. I loved it so much. I though that you were only talking for a minute and the video was almost done, it was that interesting. I just have two question. You mentioned that music calms the brain down and the best would be classical music. Well I was wondering if you knew what a not so great music choice would be for calming down. My second question is related to the flight, fight, or freeze part. Besides these three reactions is there any more and how did they test this theory.

    It was amazing and I enjoyed it so much!

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