If anybody needs that message, it’s me! I love excitement and thrive on activity. But sometimes a person goes “over the top” and it becomes stress.
You’ve probably heard my brilliant definition of stress; I’ve said it often before: stress is the difference between what you’ve got and what you wanted. The further away you are from your desires, the more it hurts. If you are nearly there, you start to relax. It’s only natural.
I dived into extra detail on this in my block-buster mind-bender: Psychiatry Without Drugs (formerly Real Secrets To Transforming Mental Health: same text exactly, but re-titled). Norman Shealy MD, who you may know of, described this book as “The most important book in the whole history of psychiatry”!
I have recently been re-reading another very capable book by my friend Patrick K. Porter PhD. He’s a former very successful personal growth trainer, and is an expert in hypnotism and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).
When I say “former”, I only mean that his life has now taken an amazing new direction, with the development of his state-of-the-art brain entrainment tool: the BrainTap. I have one. It links to a software app on my smartphone, and I can download and enjoy countless tracks for growth, inspiration, relaxation, creativity and all those cool things I have written about often, which happen when you use binaural beats and photic driving to create brain entrainment.
Back to Patrick Porter’s book! It’s title is Thrive in Overdrive (How to Navigate Your Overloaded Lifestyle) and I have Patrick’s permission to share anything in there and my attention came to rest on a marvelous, simply hack to reduce stress levels. It could change your life!
There’s also a neat little stress assessment called a “stress quotient”. It’s attached to this email, so you can download it, print it out and then write directly on the test sheets and score yourself!
Here’s how to radically reduce stress. It’s about breaking bad habits and dysfunctional responses…
- Example: feel upset; “Gawd, I need a drink!” That’s dysfunctional.
- Example: feel upset; go for a walk. That’s better. It clears the head and you can think what to do about the situation.
Patrick has a neat little hack along these lines. You can print out a chart if you wish. It isn’t necessary. Just write your answers alongside each stressor in your life.
But that means you have to be aware what the stressors are in your life! That’s right. So a little enhancement by way of seeing what goads and aggravates you is a good self-assessment in itself.
Far from being self-aware, most people are oblivious of what stirs them up. All they sense is that something is wrong; life isn’t good; I don’t feel happy any more; or whatever is going on. So getting a handle on what the issues are is a good start.
Here’s Patrick’s tool:
In your journal or a notebook, label several pages in a row with days of the week, as a heading. Then, for each day, divide the page into 3 columns. Label column 1 Stressor, column 2 My Response and column 3 Healthier Response.
Each day, take a few minutes to recall the stressors you faced. Write them down. Then in column 2 alongside, write down how you responded.
For example, if you woke up late, that would be a stressor. Traffic, meetings, a rushed lunch, a disagreement with a co-worker, technology failures, a sick child, an argument with your spouse, a long line at the grocery store, and anything that gets you upset, frustrated, angry, or nervous should be added to your list.
When you finish writing your activities and Stressors for the first day you may see, perhaps for the first time, just how much pressure you are under. At the end of the day, sit down with your list and fill in that My Response section. Did you get angry, frustrated, and anxious? Did you overeat or turn to another substance? Did you lose your temper with your family later in the day?
Was there a better way for you to handle each situation? Write down your ideas in column 3: Healthier Response. This is the area that should get most of your time and attention. What if you had remained in a resourceful state? What would have been the outcome if you’d done so? The more you think it through, the more likely you are to start changing your response patterns.
Patrick tells us to repeat this exercise daily for an entire week. Do you see any patterns developing? Were you more resourceful later in the week than you were at the start?
Actually, he later tells us to do this indefinitely. The few minutes a day it takes could add years of quality living to your lifespan. Heck, I can only agree with that!
It’s important to remember that if you stayed resourceful and didn’t experience stress, your blood pressure probably didn’t elevate, your heart and respiratory rates most likely didn’t increase, and your body didn’t get a rush of insulin, cortisol, or thyroid hormones, which means you are already on your way to improved health and have reduced your risk for lifestyle disease (heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer etc.)
If you are worried about your stress levels, send us the results of your test score and someone will advize you on action.
Finally: You can get yourself a copy of Thrive in Overdrive (and Patrick’s other books) on Amazon.
To read more about the BrainTap and perhaps get yourself one, go here:
Well, that’s it. I hope you are successful at tuning out stress. But don’t stress yourself doing it! Ha ha!
Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby
The Official Alternative Doctor