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"Stress Management Strategies"
An Interview with Roger Reece

Interview by Dr. Susan Hickman

The Mind of the Matter
VoiceAmerica Radio
December 8, 2011


Hickman: Welcome to the show, Roger. Thank you for being with us today.

Roger Reece: Well thank you, Susan. It's good to be here.

Hickman: Let's just jump right in. I'd like to start with some basics here, so tell us: what is stress? What's the cause of stress?

Roger Reece: Well, in my stress management training and coaching, we focus on the sources of stress, and I put them in two categories: internal sources and external sources. The internal sources of stress are you: it's your reactions, it's how you react to things that are going on in the external world, or your thoughts and so forth; and that creates stress for yourself. And then there are the external things that are happening all around you, like missing a plane or losing something and not being able to find it, having time pressures and deadlines, or not being able to get along with somebody. All these kinds of external sources are part of what we deal with in stress management.

Hickman: Okay, so we've got internal and external sources. So what is this stress response? I'm sure all our listeners out there have obviously had some experience with stress. Tell me what we're talking about when we say, "I am stressed out" - what is that response?

Roger Reece: Well, first of all, it's a physiological response. It's your body reacting - and your body doesn't really know the difference between an internal or an external source; it just reacts. Let's take for example, just imagine there's a rattlesnake on the floor right now - do you think that might cause you stress?

Hickman: Oh yes.

Roger Reece: Okay, so than we would say the rattlesnake is a stressor and you are the stressee. Now, let's assume that you didn't have your glasses on, and you're getting ready to run away, and of course you're freaked out by that snake, and you're scared, and you're having this reaction - flight-or-fight. But you put your glasses on and then you look again, and you realize, "Oh, it wasn't a snake after all. It was a big piece of rope, and I just thought it was a snake." Now, to your body, it doesn't really matter, okay? But now when we thought it was a snake, we could say, "The snake is the stressor." But now would you say that the rope is the stressor?

Hickman: Hm. Well, the perception of the rope --

Roger Reece: [laughing] Okay, the perception of the rope. So when it was a snake - when you thought it was a snake - it was your perception that it was a snake that caused the stress response.

Hickman: Right.

Roger Reece: And then when you realized it was a rope, it was the same thing: it was your perception. And it really doesn't matter whether the thing on the outside is a threat or not - as long as you perceive it that way, this stress response is going to take place. So what happens is, your autonomic nervous system - now this is the same nervous system that keeps your heart beating and keeps your blood pumping and all those things you don't have to think about - the autonomic nervous system has a couple of subsystems that jump into play. So when you saw the snake, or what you thought was a snake, it is the sympathetic nervous system (which is part of the autonomic nervous system) that triggers the stress reaction. What does it do? It causes your heart rate to increase, and your blood pressure increases; your breathing starts to almost, like, hyperventilate, so you can take in more oxygen. Glucose is released into your bloodstream, so that if you are cut, your blood will coagulate faster; your muscles tense, your digestion slows down (this is not the time to be digesting your food, you have to run from the snake!), your perspiration increases and adrenaline is released throughout your body. And all this is done by the sympathetic nervous system. Regardless of whether it was a snake or a rope, you perceived it to be a threat, so all this happened.

Now, when you looked again and you realized that it was a rope, then you start to calm down. Now this is another part of your nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system; and it takes over to shut down the stress reaction, stop releasing the adrenaline, slow down and relax, because the coast is clear, it was just a rope. So these triggers are taking place. So what is the trigger? The trigger is your perception - but once it's triggered, your physiology takes over, and physical things start happening to you.

Now, the problem is chronic stress. If it was just a snake, that's one thing, you know, we don't see snakes all that often - but the problem is, you've got all the pressures at work, and the pressures of relationships, and all the difficulties; and so all day long, the triggers are happening, and all this stuff is getting released into your body. And then what happens is, chronic stress results in even more physiological problems. I mean, things like headaches, insomnia, backache, fatigue, ulcers, digestive problems, neck and shoulder tension, chest tension. And psychological symptoms start to develop after you have had so much chronic stress for so long: things like avoidance, procrastination, withdrawal, aggression, hyperactivity; relationship problems, excessive eating, drinking, smoking, drug abuse - all these kinds of things start happening because of the chronic stress.

Hickman: So in a real-world setting, are you saying that it really is not so much the external, but how we are perceiving the external? So do we get into habits to where we perceive something that might not necessarily be stressful, as stressful? Do we get in, like, stress reactivity patterns?

Roger Reece: Yes, we certainly do get into these patterns. And one of the things we have to look at is, when is the stress response useful to you, and when is it actually sabotaging your ability to deal with the stress? So, for instance, imagine somebody who is really stressed out at work; and then they come home and the house is a mess. And they go, "Ah, this is so stressful, and I don't even know where to start." And, you know, they're really stressed out about everything - and if they could just say, "Well, yes, the house is a mess. And if I just start somewhere, and just start working... And I'll just clean one room and take care of it," they're going to actually start dealing with the external sources of stress. The problem is, if their reaction - that feeling overwhelmed, that thing that says, "I'm sinking in the quicksand, I can't get it all done" - if that takes over, then they don't even feel like getting up and doing anything. In fact, they may walk to the refrigerator, eat a half-gallon of ice cream and watch TV --

Hickman: Looking for comfort.

Roger Reece: Yeah, looking for comfort from the stress. And so then what happens is, the patterns themselves are not helping us to get rid of this stress. They are in fact making it worse, because we aren't dealing with the things we need to deal with.

Hickman: When you're dealing with chronic stress, you know, there are a couple of things I'm hearing you say. First of all, some of it we can mitigate through the way we perceive things, and then what we do in terms of dealing with the stress, like cleaning one room at a time. But what about the situations where you really cannot change the stressors that are going on - they're beyond your control?

Roger Reece: Yeah. And that's where sometimes it's really important to step back. And I use the Serenity Prayer. I think it's really perfect, because it's sort of a model of how to deal with stress. So a great way to think about it is, you take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center; and on the left side are the things that you can't change and on the right side are the things that you can. And then the Serenity Prayer gives you three key words: accept, courage and wisdom. So when it says the first word accept, it is about the things that you can't change. And so, if the thing that you're stressed out take whatever it is that you're stressed out about and write it on the paper. And which side are you going to put it on - does it go on the side of the things you can't change or the things that you can? So when you write it down, if it goes on the left side, then the operative word is accept - and now you have your job in front of you: stress management at this point, for you, in this situation, is to accept that this is something that you can't change. You can't change it with your thoughts, you can't change it with your actions, you can't change it with your worry, with your depression or any of the other kinds of things. You know, if you think about worry and depression and some of these things, it's the body's and the mind's effort to try to deal with the stress; but unfortunately it's not dealing with it very well - because we may be talking about things that we can't change. But it can be really helpful to be able to accept.

Now, if it is on the side of the things that you can [change], then the operative word is courage. You know, let's say that you've got stress at work, and it's maybe a coworker, and you've been ignoring it... I had one woman in one of my coaching environment relationships who said, "I'm a doormat or a land mine, depending on how you've been walking on me."

Hickman: Oh wow.

Roger Reece: She said, "I let people at work just walk all over me and I don't say anything." She said, "I let people at home and in my personal life walk on me." And I said, "So where's the land mine part?" And she said, "Well, the stress builds up, I resent them, I don't like it, but I do it, I let them get by with it... But then one day you're going to walk on me and I'm just not going to be in the mood for it. It's going to be the last straw. And then I'm going to blow up in your face - and you're going to wonder where it came from!"

And I said, "Well how's that working for your relationships?" "Not too well." "How's it working for your stress management?" "Not too well." And the thing is, sometimes you have to have the courage to change the things you can, and the courage may come in the form of being able to respectfully talk to somebody about their behavior - not blow up in their face, but to deal with the real issue that is going on. Now I would call that managing the external sources of your stress.

Hickman: Yeah, and boundaries: learning how to assert those boundaries sooner and sooner, rather than being walked on.

Roger Reece: Right.

Hickman: Well Roger, another question I had is, are we all born equal-opportunity worriers? Or are some of us more likely to be worry- and anxiety-driven than others?

Roger Reece: Well, it's interesting because I think that we get conditioned by our family, by our upbringing, and in spite of the fact that - I don't know about you, but I have two kids, they're very, very different, and they were raised in the same home... But you know, the interesting thing is, your environment will cause different people to grow up in a certain way. And we develop these mental models about the world. Think about a little baby born into the world: they don't have any mental models. One of the first mental models they develop is, if I scream and whine loud enough, somebody will give me what I want. When I'm hungry, I cry and somebody just feeds me - right?

Hickman: [laughing] Some adults are still like that, right?

Roger Reece: [laughing] Yeah - well that's the point: we develop coping mechanisms, in the forms of mental models, how we see the world. If your father is an abuser and overpowers you, you find some way to cope. And one child might learn to shut down, and another one might learn to be angry; but whatever these coping mechanisms are, they become part of our mental models, and they stay with us for way too long.

Hickman: Mm-hmm.

Roger Reece: We're grown up, and we have these old mental models that are, like, part of our beliefs and our programming, and it affects our stress levels. Often we revert to old ways of dealing with stress - which might include worry and fretting and shutting down and all kinds of things; and often they go back to our history. And what I work with clients on is basically reprogramming their thinking to be able to deal with stress in a positive way - that is enhancing to their life rather than tearing them down. We are the product of conditioning, and we do have the ability to change our conditioning - to reprogram ourselves - and that, to me, is probably the major task that we have in stress management: changing our mental models and reprogramming ourselves.

Hickman: Okay. And so how can you keep your mind from just working you over with worry and all kinds of stressful thoughts, then?

Roger Reece: Well, it's interesting. There are lot of tools that I use, but one of the most effective tools is the tool of reframing. Think about if I gave you a camera with a zoom lens and asked you to take a picture. You could take a picture of, let's say, a group of people, and you can zero-in, with the zoom lens, you could zoom in on one person - or you could pan back and get the whole group. And you could get just a head shot, or you could get everything. And if you were out in nature, you could zero-in on a flower, or you could get the whole scene. And so what happens is, when a stressful event happens, something that really grabs you, you tend to unconsciously frame it.

And how do you frame it? Well, you could frame it as a problem, you could frame it as, this is terrible, this shouldn't be happening, why me? You could frame it as, this person is the perpetuator and I am the victim... I mean, there are so many ways that you could frame it. And so you could end up with a worry frame, or some other type of a stress frame - but when you frame a situation that way that is how you see it. So what is reframing? Reframing is -- so just imagine you have a camera now, and if you pan back you can see more of the picture. So, let's take a situation where you just had a bill come in that you didn't expect, and you realize, I don't have the money in my bank account to pay this bill; and then something else happens unexpectedly. And you're really worried about the finances, and now the worry is just taking over. You can't sleep at night. It's just going on and on and on.

Now, if you look at how bad it is right now, it may put you in a very, very difficult situation. Let's say you get laid off! "Oh my gosh, now it's even worse - I don't even have a job." And now you've got to go out and interview for a new job - I wonder how good your interview is going to be?

Hickman: [laughing] Right.

Roger Reece: [laughing] I mean, you're so worried about your finances - you're so worried about everything - how good is your interview going to be? And you know, what you can do is, you end up sabotaging yourself. You know, when you need to get a good night's sleep so that you feel better the next day, and what do you do? You stay up all night fretting about your finances, which makes it really difficult to really think straight.
So, what is reframing? Reframing in this case might be looking at maybe the whole picture in a different way. I mean, you can look at it and say, "Why me? Why do bad things happen to good people?" You ever hear somebody say that?

Hickman: Oh yeah.

Roger Reece: That's what we call a limiting belief. And what it does is, it frames the current situation according to a limited belief. But can you imagine there are people out there who have it worse than you? Can you imagine people who are out in the street, who are homeless? Can you imagine people that don't have all things that you have? What happens a lot of times is, we lose our sense of appreciating what we do have, and we set ourselves up. It's like, "things should be like this" - but the fact is, they are like this. So we have a hard time accepting What Is, because of the way we framed it. So by framing it differently... you can frame a problem as an opportunity.

Hickman: Absolutely.

Roger Reece: You can say, this is an opportunity. I had a preacher who told me one time, he said, "God puts you in a fix to fix you; if you fix the fix before you're fixed, God'll put you in another fix to fix you."

Hickman: [laughing] That's good. Say that really fast.

Roger Reece: [laughing] Well, that's tough. But that was his way of reframing difficult situation. He said, "When I am in a difficult situation, here's how I frame it: I figure God put me in this fix for a reason. What's the reason? Well, to fix me. It's a learning opportunity."

So, what he's saying is that, you know, to run away from my problems isn't going to help, because I'll just end up in more. This problem is here for me. It's for my learning. And when I was talking to him about it, he said, "Well, you know, I've had situations happen to me where I thought it was the most horrible thing. But then later on I looked back and I see that was the best thing that could have happened to me - because it caused me to learn, it had caused me to make choices I would not have made otherwise." So what he says is, "Now I find myself in a tough situation, so I try to reframe it: I know it's going to work out for my good. I know that it's here for a reason, I know that it's here as learning experience." That was his way of reframing.

But see, we all have to learn how to reframe a situation - because the stressful event, it grabs you. And you find yourself worrying, even though some things are on the side of the things that you can't change. You can't change the fact that you lost your job - but if you don't watch out, the fact that you lost your job can keep you from getting another one, because of how you are in the interview. So all of a sudden, you start saying, Well, I can't change this, but what can I change? I can change my future. And accept the fact that things are tough right now, but you'll probably learn a lot through it. And you're going to get through it. And all of a sudden, as you start to reframe it, you're framing into your frame a future that's positive. You're framing into your frame your own potential to be able to enter into the external sources of stress and do something about them - to make them better. And all of a sudden, things start to change. You feel differently about it. You're able to set a strategy and a goal for being able to deal with what's going on.

And you know, the Serenity Prayer says to accept the things you can't change, the courage to change the things that you can, and the wisdom to know the difference. And for me, I've found all through my life that sometimes, I think I can't change something; but wisdom tells me that if I look hard enough and frame it differently, maybe there is something that I can do. Maybe I can't change the fact that I got laid off, but I can sure change my future. And it's that wisdom of experience that says, even when I think everything is bleak and there is nothing I can do and I feel like a victim, that I can make a difference.

Hickman: Right. I really resonate with what you're saying. I work this way with my clients as well. And a lot of times, it really helps them - and there's a lot of overlap here in what you're saying - to do a gratitude list. You know, "What do you have to be grateful for, even though you have this situation?" And you can't... they can't seem to worry and be grateful at the same time.

Roger Reece: Yes. Well, a gratitude list is one of the best reframing exercises you can have. Because you're looking at your situation, and all those things that you might put in a gratitude list are outside your frame; and a gratitude list brings them into your frame. And it causes the way you frame your current situation to be different - and then you feel different about it, and it changes your stress level.

Hickman: Absolutely. And then it also reminds me of general mindfulness practices as well. And then the Serenity Prayer goes along with that so well, in that "This is the Moment That We Have" of John Conley, who does the rapid resolution therapy.
Put it this way: it's like, "Clap yesterday! Hurry up. Clap tomorrow." You can't.

Roger Reece: [laughing] Right.

Hickman: The only possible place you have is right now. You can clap this moment, which is in your frame. There is something you can do. You can't go back and change yesterday - and we have the opportunity to mold tomorrow...but it's not here yet.

Roger Reece: One of the keys, speaking of the present moment, to stress management is understanding that when we're caught in a stress frame, we're literally caught in between two things: On the one hand, What Is - which is the current situation in this present moment - and by the way, we can't change What Is, we can only change What Will Be. Ok?

Anyway, so we're caught in between What Is and What Should Be. Now, What Should Be is insidious. What Should Be is a thought. It's an idea. It's a concept. So you might say, for instance - and I'm on airplanes a lot, so I see this kind of thing happen - somebody goes to the airport and they say, "I should get on the airplane at 3 o'clock, because that's what my ticket says." Then, because of bad weather, it gets cancelled - the flight gets cancelled. And you go, "I should be able to get on the plane" - well, what is, is your flight just got cancelled. Now you're disappointed.

And think about little kids and how they disappointed they get. Oh, if things are not the way they think they should be, they cry and they have temper tantrums... And guess what? Adults, they have their own way of crying and having temper tantrums - because in their mind, What Should Be does not match up with What Is. And as a result, their mind - it's cognitive dissonance. Your mind starts to create stress and you don't know what to do with it. And to be able to accept What Is becomes very, very important. What is, is. It can't be changed. Accept it. Reframe it - and then look to the future and say, "If something else should be, how I can bring that about? How can I make that happen? How can I engage in activity now that will bring about a better future?"

But instead, what happens is, the activity we engage in is worry and fretting and frustration and all kinds of things that cause us to spin our wheels and just magnify our disappointment.

Hickman: Right, right.

...Now Roger, you teach your coaching clients how to reprogram their brains to reduce stress. So tell us a little bit about that.

Roger Reece: Yeah. Well, one of the things - we were talking about reframing, and of course that's really important - but one of the things that we look at is states, and basically emotional states. Now, I look at the whole spectrum of states that you could be in, from very un-resourceful states to highly resourceful states. So: I'm going to give you some names of states and let's see if you can relate to any of these un-resourceful states.

Hickman: Okay.

Roger Reece: Burned-out, frustrated, overwhelmed, disengaged, depressed, fragmented - have you ever been in any of those states?

Hickman: Oh, yes.

Roger Reece: Okay, now: when you're in a state like that, how does it feel?

Hickman: It is exhausting. Like I can think of burned-out right off the bat, so - very unmotivated, exhausted.

Roger Reece: It's very hard - at that point, when you're in one of those states, you're not very resourceful. It makes it really hard for you to accomplish what you might accomplish in another state.

Now, let me give you some more names that might relate to states. Now let's see if you can relate to some of these: enthusiastic, creative, engaged, focused, energetic. Have you ever been in any of those states?

Hickman: Mm-hmm.

Roger Reece: What do you accomplish when you're in those states?

Hickman: Oh, a lot.

Roger Reece: So these would be more resourceful states. Now, interestingly enough, most people, when they get in a state, they're not sure how they got in it, and they don't know how to get out of it. Now, if you're in one of those resourceful states, you don't really want to get out of it. You don't think about it. But when you're in one of those un-resourceful states - like depressed, burned out, frustrated, fragmented, overwhelmed - you really don't like to be in it. Well, for most people, they don't think of it as a state that can change. It's just, "This is me. This is just what's happening now." In fact, it just sort of blends in with what's going on. "Of course I feel this way, because this happened to me and that happened to me and this happened to me."

Hickman: Because it is state-congruent.

Roger Reece: Yeah. So in working with the reprogramming, we work with frames and states. So, often, the way you framed an event is instrumental in putting you in a state. So what I do in my training and in my coaching is teach people: number one, to be aware of their state, and then number two, to be able to change their state. And the primary tool that we use is reframing, because that helps you to change your state; but we have other tools and so forth. Sometimes we have to go pretty deep into your programming from the past and your beliefs about things.

It's interesting when we talk about limiting beliefs. Let me give you a couple of limiting beliefs, okay? Here's a limiting belief about time: I never have enough time. No matter how hard I work, it's just never enough. Now here's a limiting belief about work: It doesn't pay to work hard. If you do, they just give you more to do. Here's one about authority: You cannot trust management. Anything you say will be held against you. Here's one about self: Nothing I do ever turns out right. Bad things always happen to me. Here's one about relationships: Other people always try to take advantage of me. You can't trust anybody. And then here's one about life in general: Life is hard. Bad things happen to good people. Life isn't fair.

Now, these limiting beliefs, they get triggered by events. So, you're in a situation right now that is stressful, and what happens is, these beliefs - these are mental models - they come up; and then your thoughts start to reflect these beliefs. And they are instrumental in creating your frame: the way you are framing your current situation, framing it negatively, framing it in a victim frame, framing it in a stress frame. And then all of a sudden, what does it do to you? It changes your state, and it takes you to a less resourceful state. The interesting thing how all these things interact with each other is, when your state is less resourceful, you are less able to deal with it and change it and make it better. As long as you stay within the stress frame or the victim frame, you can't seem to get out of it, because there's no solution. And so what we do is we teach people to reframe. We teach them to challenge their limiting beliefs and replace them with new beliefs, and we teach them how to work with these things together and actually change their states. And so when you detect that you're starting to move into an un-resourceful state, you bring awareness to that, you start to do the reframes and you change your state.

Hickman: Now, when you talk about these limiting beliefs, are you saying - are these core beliefs that have developed over time, through experience, so that they are deeply-held?

Roger Reece: They often are. And when you say experience, of course it could be anything. It could be something you heard your father say or your mother say, for years and years growing up. You know, your experience, it may not be accurate - but maybe at the time you picked it up and adopted this belief, it made sense to you. Now that years have passed and you're smarter than you used to be and you're more emotionally intelligent than you used to me, sometimes these old beliefs start to creep up - bad feelings about yourself, bad feelings about life, all those kinds of things - and it adds to your stress frames.

Hickman: And are you saying that the reframing is the tool or the vehicle that allows those core beliefs, if you will, to shift to something else?

Roger Reece: It certainly helps. Now, we do work with trying to listen to your thoughts. When you're stressed out, listen to your thoughts and write them down - because you're looking for your philosophical thoughts: Why is this happening to me? What's going on? And as you start to write them down, and look at them, they represent your belief. And I take people through a questioning process to elicit those beliefs; but reframing is one of those tools that you can always use immediately. In other words, if you realize that you've framed a situation in which you've made yourself a victim, you just reframe the situation in a way that you now can do something. It takes us back to the serenity prayer. And you go to the right side of the serenity prayer - it might require some courage, but you reframe it: "If I do this, this will happen; if I do this, I can create this in my life." And you start to set goals and strategies, and that allows you to get out of those limiting beliefs that will tell you there is nothing I can do, I am doomed, everything is a problem.

Hickman: Now there's a concept that has been floating around for number of years referred to as emotional intelligence. I'm not sure if our listeners really know what that is, so if you might, start by explaining what that is, and how does that factor into what we've been talking about?

Roger Reece: Well, you know, we've thought about intelligence for years, because they've given us tests like SAT tests and IQ tests and things like that; but it only measured certain aspects of our intelligence. Emotional intelligence is about how you are integrated as a person: that is, how connected you are with your thoughts and your feelings, and how in control of your behavior you actually are. And then it's also about how you interact with people. So it's about how you interact with the parts of yourself, and how you interact with other people. There are basically four aspects of emotional intelligence, and you might think of each of these as a whole skill-set, a whole area where you can develop as a person. So, the four areas are: self awareness, self management, social awareness and relationship management.

The self awareness is you becoming aware of you. That is, if a stressful event happens, and you're getting all stressed out, are you aware that you're having a reaction? You know, some people are not aware they are having a reaction - they just act it out. So - have you ever met somebody that just gets mad really easy?

Hickman: Oh yeah.

Roger Reece: Okay - and they take it out on other people. So somebody says something to them, and it's like, their button got pushed. Well, when your button gets pushed, what do you do? Emotionally-intelligent people, what they do is they realize, my button just got pushed and I am having a reaction. What people who are not emotionally intelligent do is, they just act it out. They might yell, or they might sulk, or they might get passive-aggressive or whatever. They just act out whatever comes to them. It's a reaction. It doesn't really represent who you are, it's just coming up. And so, self-awareness is being aware that it's coming up inside of you.

And then self management is you being able to manage it. Because if yelling at somebody... I mean, think about a little child who gets mad and hits Billy with a rock. Okay, and we teach our kids, don't do that - but then as we grow up, have we really learned self-awareness and have we learned self-management?

Then, the next one is social awareness. So, self awareness is tuning into yourself - social awareness is tuning into other people. So let's say you're in a situation where somebody else is having a bad day; and because they're having a bad day, they're lashing out at you. Well, you could easily let that push your buttons, and then you start lashing out at them, and then now we have two people lashing out at each other - or, you can recognize, this is not about me, it's about her. She's having a bad day. And then you can tune into her, and maybe you can help her out of it. Maybe you can help her realize it's not necessary to talk to me this way. But if you're not socially aware, you may just take it as an insult - and if you have no self awareness, your buttons are pushed and then all of a sudden, you're doing exactly the same thing she's doing.

And then finally, relationship management, that is realizing that as we go through life and the stresses of life are here, regardless of how stressful things get, we have relationships to manage. And I see so many people who take their stress out on loved ones and the people around them, and then either they rationalize it or later on they're sorry they did it - but effective relationship management is realizing that my relationships are important to me; and when I'm stressed out, I don't want to damage my relationships.

So, when all four of these are working together effectively, you have an emotionally intelligent person who is self aware, who is able to manage their reactions, who is able to tune into other people and effectively manage their relationships, even when difficult things are going on.

Hickman: One final question for listeners out there: What if we're stressed out right now?

Roger Reece: Well, I'm going to give you three primary things that you could do. And you could maybe pick one of these when you're stressed out, or maybe you could do all three. The first one is, change your perspective - and that's another way of saying reframe. Just change your perspective - because when you have a narrow perspective, you're very stressed out. So, any time you are stressed, if you think about changing your perspective that makes a difference.

Second thing is, ask yourself, what can I do to manage the externals right now - the external sources of my stress? Okay, and then get busy doing it right now. So for a lot of people, they get immobilized when they are stressed; and if instead of getting immobilized, you mobilize yourself doing something positive to deal with the externals around you that are creating the stress, then that's something that can be very energizing and can help you, because now you're focused on the solution rather than just falling into the problem.

The third one is, disengage from the stress. And this could come in a lot of forms. For some people, it's meditation, or prayer, or something like that. Close your eyes, breathe, focus on your breathing, tune into something positive inside. Another thing that you can do is take a walk, or engage in some kind of physical exercise. It's a great way to disengage from the stress by engaging in something else. Another way of disengaging is to talk to somebody who can give you a positive lift: somebody you can share your frustrations with who can help you, and not take you deeper into the problem but help you get out of it. And then another thing you might do to disengage would be to engage in a balancing activity: that is, do something fun, something you enjoy, something you like. Treat yourself to something that you really enjoy that allows you to experience something other than the stress.

Hickman: This has been a fantastic show. Thank you so much for being with us and sharing all of this valuable information with our listeners.

Roger Reece: Thank you, Susan. I appreciate the opportunity.


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