(In response to a question on the Co-Active Network regarding the importance of stress management work with clients.)
Stress and stress management is a huge topic with many clients, and a critical issue to get a handle on if they hope to make big changes. (And here we are talking about excess stress, not low level activating stress.)
Great research at Case Western, Harvard and elsewhere has shown that when we are under the effects of chronic levels of even everyday stress, we are more reactive and have far less access to our creativity and wisdom. In fact when the blood is full of all the fight or flight chemicals (adrenalin, epinepherine, norepinepherine, etc) it is really difficult for the brain to even form new neuro connections. I.E.- it is really difficult to learn or change behaviour.) Stress can make reactive, isolated, cowards out of us all.
So I believe it is really important to;
– help many clients understand the impact of stress on their life, body, relationships, leadership ability, creativity, etc. (Some want/need to actually read the research/books such as Resonant Leadership by Boyatzis or The Ancestral Mind by Gregg Jacobs.)
– help them learn the basics of stress/time management.
– help them start small on renewal activities, and and feel the difference it makes.
– help them normalize that there will be many failures and regressions before the new habits really take hold, and that is to be expected.
– help them find a good combo of “yin” and “yang” (active to metabolize stress, passive to witness and still the mind) stress management practices that they can weave into their already busy weeks.
Also, tools like basic CBT skills (thought processing techniques like Byron Katie’s “The Work”) do help a lot.
Stress is almost always a reaction to the gap between the way things actually are, and the way the mind/ego would want them to be. (And the mind has a seemingly unlimited capacity for desire and aversion.) As clients learn to accept and create more from what actually is, their stress becomes far more manageable.
This of course translates into far more energy, courage, happiness and effectiveness. And because it makes such a big difference to them, I have no problem suggesting/directing that this is something they would benefit from learning more about.
All the best,
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