Interview with Janis Pullen, Transformational Coach
Situation: When we encounter stress, like financial, economic or business stress, we may respond positively and proactively or negatively. Negative responses include drinking, smoking and comfort eating which can damage our health. How do you focus on positive responses to stress?
Advice from Janis Pullen:
- It is important to understand that there are two aspects to stress management – the ontological or being side and the facilitative or doing side. These are different but related.
- When people experience stress they seek comfort in activities that they associate with relaxation. This includes alcohol, tobacco and eating. These reactions are automatic, habitual and predictable and can lead to unhealthy consequences.
- Ontological techniques to counter habitual, automatic reactions and to positively respond to stressors include:
- Recreate our relationship to time. In the US we are deadline oriented and multitask. These increase stress.
- Arrive at meetings 5 minutes early so that we give ourselves time to get settled instead of entering the meeting in a rush.
- Plan time for nothing – even a 5-minute break with no pressure to “do” anything increases ease and relaxation.
- Become more aware of our needs and what we have to do to meet them. Often we are not in tune with our needs and operate on top of them. The positive alternative is to slow down, notice more of what is within and around us, and have the courage to fulfill our real, deeper needs.
- Take responsibility. When we blame external causes for situations, we give up power and control. The alternative is to be “at cause” rather than “at effect” to produce constructive results.
- Realize you are not alone. Employ assistance/guidance/mentorship to lighten your load.
- On the facilitative side, these practices can alleviate or reduce stress:
- Simply take a few deep breaths when we become aware of stress. This increases blood oxygen, helps us to relax and cools our reaction.
- Exercise – even a short walk – does wonders for changing moods from negative to positive. Under stress, the body releases cortisol and adrenalin – the fight or flight hormones. Exercise increases endorphins, which help us to relax and reduces cortisol and adrenalin levels.
- Consciously eat whole versus processed foods and drink more water to help our bodies to function more efficiently and to respond more effectively to stress. Berries and nuts are much healthier snacks than sugar or other simple carbohydrates.
- Sufficient sleep is critical to effective physical and mental function. Alcohol impairs sleep by reducing deep sleep cycles so we do not wake up refreshed.
- The effective solution to stress is to focus on our real needs and to replace destructive behavior patterns with constructive alternatives.
You can contact Janis Pullen at Janis@CoachJanisPullen.com
Key Words: Stress, Response, Positive, Proactive, Negative, Alcohol, Tobacco, Eating, Food, Ontological, Facilitative, Comfort, Habit, Healthy, Unhealthy, Real Needs, Time Management, Deadline, Act, Control, Responsibility, Blame, Breath, Cortisol, Adrenalin, Endorphins, Whole Foods, Sugar, Carbohydrates, Focus