What is Stress Doing to You?


If you’ve been paying attention to health media over the past 20 years, no doubt you’ve heard the message that “Stress Kills” – it weakens the immune system and is the common denominator in all disease. Lots is being done to help us relieve stress, but here’s a solution you probably never considered…

Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last week, I had the pleasure of hearing Shawn Achor of GoodThinkInc.com speaking about The Happiness Advantage. If you haven’t seen Shawn’s hilarious TEDx talk from 2011, take a few minutes to watch it…you’ll laugh and likely relieve some stress, too:

When we choose to feel happier, there are many beneficial results: Our brains are flooded with happiness hormones (like Dopamine and Serotonin, and the hormones they control), we are more relaxed, and more likely to make better decisions.

What does this have to do with stress? Visiting Achor’s site after the webinar, I stumbled across a mention of a study that showed when people were taught to view stress as a “good thing”, it changed how their bodies responded to stress! Yes, something as simple as reframing ‘stress’ into a positive experience, one we would want to look for and appreciate, was enough to cause some people to truly thrive.

In perfect timing, psychologist Kelly McGonigal had more to say about this phenomenon recently, also via TED:

So, it turns out that what stress is doing to you has more to do with how you VIEW stress than the actual source or experience of stress! If you look for ways to find that stress is beneficial and helpful in your life, then you will become more resilient and better able to manage stress. Does this finding surprise you?

From a Law of Attraction point of view, your beliefs control how you experience the world—or more accurately, how the world is mirrored back to you to support your existing beliefs about the world.

Take a moment to ask yourself how you might be able to view stress differently, and share your thoughts below.

No Mistakes…Only Opportunities

Earlier today, I was reminded about the connection between artistic creativity, entrepreneurship, and manifesting.

If you are an artist, then I don’t need to tell you how much that type of creativity requires openness and willingness to let go…of thoughts,  preconceptions, and expectations. Successful entrepreneurs and manifestors benefit from letting go, too.

How, you might ask, does one actually do that when you’re stressed?

ZenTangling is a form of doodling that lets you have fun while training yourself to open up your mind and let go. While there are some established ‘patterns’ you can follow, you can also just wing it and see what happens, often with unexpected and stunningly beautiful results!

Spirit WomanBack in the late 1970s, before I had ever heard of this term, or the name had been trademarked, I was inspired by an unknown european folk artist who drew in a black and white style reminiscent of the Art Nouveau.

I put that inspiration to good use one “snow day” (no school due to a blizzard), and I had the equipment: 18″ x 24″ bristol board, crow quill pens, watercolor brush, and black india ink! I lost myself for hours while listening to music, crafting making tiny circles, curves, and lines in ink with the crow quill pen.

The drawing above is what I created from letting my mind go. Nothing was pre-planned. I remember how focused I was, and yet how free my mind felt while I was working on this. Even looking at this now reminds me of that relaxed-yet-focused state of being.

When was the last time you allowed yourself to be in that state?

As Einstein said, you cannot solve a problem with the same energy that created the problem. To find the solution, we must first find a way to relax the mind so we can think clearly and see other possibilities. Meditation can be a tremendous help, but for those who struggle to relax into meditation, a little doodling can help!

Searching YouTube, I found this video demonstrating ZenTangling – entitled, No Mistakes —Only Opportunities. I was immediately struck by how true that is of life, creativity, entrepreneurship, and manifesting! As the demonstrator spoke, I wrote down the comments she made that could easily be affirmations for life and manifesting…

• No mistakes…only opportunities

• I let my mind go and don’t worry about the outcome

• If I come up against a brick wall…I ZenTangle®, and my mind opens up to the possibilities

• …let (your) mind roll and do as (it) pleases

• Don’t worry about it…let your mind do what it does

• Relaxing and letting go

• Let your inner artist do whatever it pleases

The next time you have a thorny issue to resolve, take some time to relax your mind, meditate, or doodle. Allow the solution to catch up with you!

Now it’s your turn to share: What do you do to relax your mind?

Stress and Fear and Deep Breathing

Did you know there is a connection between stress and fear?

Stress and Fear and Deep Breathing

I must say that I’d never made the correlation between stress and fear.

Although, I have been aware that research continues to show that stress is the basis or a significant factor in nearly all diseases and illnesses. I wouldn’t be the first person to report feeling stressed, and then coming down with a cold…a perfect opportunity to rest the body, sleep, and indulge in self-care. After a few days of this, the cold seems to magically cure itself.

So, while I was aware of the role of stress in health, it never occurred to me that there was a connection between stress and fear. That was, until I was listening to a guided meditation by Louise Hay.

In her Subliminal Mastery Series audiobook, Stress Free: Peaceful Affirmations to Relieve Anxiety and Help You Relax (1990), Louise Hay clearly states:

Stress is a fear reaction to life, and to life’s constant changes. Stress has become a catch word, and we use it as an excuse for not taking responsibility for our feelings. If we can equate the word stress with the word fear, then we can begin to eliminate the need for fear in our life. A peaceful relaxed person is neither frightened nor stressed.

When I heard that, I had to keep rewinding to hear it again:

Stress is a fear reaction to life?

Stress…an excuse for not taking responsibility for our feelings!?!

– Equate the word stress with the word fear, then we begin to eliminate the need for fear!?!

Being a 20 year old recording, this is clearly not new news, even though it clearly was for me. Had you heard this before? Were you aware of the connection between stress and fear?

In the audio, Louise goes on to ask…

Why are we afraid? Why do we give our power away? How can we eliminate that fear, and move through life feeling safe? We can do this by changing our thinking.

Changing our thinking (affirmations, of course, with the help of meditation and visualization!) …AND… changing our breathing.

You read that right: Breathing.

Oh, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself…

Last year, I had read a blog post by Susan Eller about how our body is designed to release 70% of toxins through our breathing! That still astonishes me.

Then, earlier this year, I had seen a tweet by @JaqStone reminding us all to take frequent breaks for deep breaths. I did, and it felt so good, I made a decision to breath deeply 3 times throughout the day as I transitioned from one  activity to another. Within that first day, I noticed some huge benefits!

– I felt better and seemed to have more energy
– My day seemed to flow easier
Solutions to problems seemed to appear all by themselves


– I found that my fear-based thoughts seemed to EVAPORATE as I breathed in more oxygen!

Seriously. Just try it for yourself: See how long you can actually hold onto to fear while you are deeply breathing. If you are like me, fear just *poof* dissipates!

Yes, I realize all of the above examples include the word *seemed*…all of our experience is about perception. Deep breathing was causing a shift in my perception and therefore, my experience.

Anyway, shortly after my AHAs about the power of deep breathing, which I tweeted about profusely, I read a response on GVU by Jeannette Maw to a forum post asking about fear. Jeannette wrote:

I’m thinking fear is excitement without breath

That statement really made an impact on me, based on my recent experience with breathing deeply, and it has come back to my mind time and again…and a Google search indicates the quote (fear is excitement without breath) originated from Robert Heller in the 19th Century. Although I had never heard this quote before, either (I know…where have I BEEN?!?), it is a simple reminder that deep breathing is beneficial, most especially when we feel fear: relaxes our muscles and mind, while helping us calm down, think clearer, and recognize the joy of excitement.

I’m also thinking about how some of my favorite energy tools (Emotional Freedom Technique/Meridian Tapping, Non-Personal Awareness, meditation, etc.) and exercise (aerobic, yoga/pilates, etc.) all incorporate deep breathing as part of the technique. After just focusing on deep breathing throughout the day, I’m wondering if the increase in oxygen and therefore the reduction of fear-thoughts is a big part of why we feel so good after doing these techniques or activities?!?

Let’s recap what we’ve uncovered here:

Stress is a fear response, and it’s the root cause of many illnesses and diseases…

And fear, a component in stress, is dissipated by deep breathing, then by deduction, stress must also be reduced by deep breathing.

That would mean that most illnesses and diseases (caused by stress) can be positively affected by regular, conscious, deep breathing!

Deep breathing is the body’s way of releasing 70% of toxins.

Simple enough for everyone to do—keep breathing, but do it a little deeper each time—and something that any deliberate creator would want to add to their conscious life experience!

Fear only exists when you do not understand that
you have the power to project thought and that the Universe will respond.

Abraham, Boca Raton, FL 1/11/97

What do you think about this? Has this been your experience? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Related Posts:

1.  A Vibrational Adjustment: Intentional Resting

2. You are Always Creating

3.  Effective Entrepreneur: Aligning with Your Natural Creativity Cycles

Everything You Experience…Is a Blessing!

If the title of this post seems shocking or incorrect to you, then you are exactly the person who needs to read this entire post. Keep reading…

In western cultures, many are taught to believe that if anything happens to you that can be categorized as “bad”, it sucks and you rarely can do anything about it so it should be avoided at all costs. People struck by fear of such experiences buy insurance to protect themselves.

In eastern cultures, many are taught to believe that every life is destined for hardships, that they are unavoidable…that the noble seek them out, dwell in and suffer through them in order to grow in character. People struck by fear of such experiences perform rituals and buy objects to protect themselves despite the inevitability.

What if there is another reality…a greater truth?

What if the truth is: Everything you experience, regardless of how it is categorized (good, bad, happy, sad, miracle, or tragedy), is actually a blessing that will improve your life in unforeseen ways?

Think about the current struggles in your life. How would you live your life differently if you began making the assumption that each struggle is actually a great blessing for which you are grateful?

We know that what we think about, comes about. That where attention goes, energy flows. What does your future hold for you if you are always fearful, angry, frustrated, and worried? In contrast, what future experiences are you attracting if you are happy, grateful, and appreciative?

How would you live your life differently if you knew that a dire medical diagnosis would teach you to value life, help you overcome phobias, live more fully, learn about your body, and make great new friends? That’s what happened to my friend who was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disease for which there is no known cure. She embraced a positive attitude and asked family, friends, and church members to pray for her. All those positive thoughts focused on her well-being: Her disease is now in remission, which her doctor previously didn’t think was possible! Without the initial diagnosis she would not have lived through such a rich and rewarding experience, nor experienced the miracle of others focusing positive thoughts on her (prayer).

How would you live your life differently if you knew the financial nightmare you are experiencing would actually teach you how to ask for help (and get it), teach you how to receive, and allow others the experience of being your angel? That’s what happened to someone dear to me…always the giver, it took a difficult experience for her to allow others to help. In realizing that she and others were benefiting from this ‘struggle’, realizing the blessing and becoming truly GRATEFUL for it, her financial situation turned around almost overnight!

How would you live your life differently if you knew that a sudden job loss actually allowed you to refocus your career on what you’d rather be doing, gives you time to decompress before starting anew, and puts you on the road to a better career with higher income and better quality of life? This is what happened to me…TWICE! The first time, I started a new job (at a temp agency) the next business day making 50% more than I was before, and jump-started an entirely new career. The second time, the severance package allowed me to start a new business with greater earning potential, and flexibility to work from home as I raised my son. That was more than 14 years ago! Now when I hear someone has been laid off, I call them and congratulate them on this wonderful new opportunity in their life.

Still not sure you can view your hardship as a blessing?
Then you need to watch this video about Baby Eliot, whose parents made a bold choice: To view their son’s genetics as an opportunity, not a tragedy. Regardless of your views (pro-choice or pro-life), it cannot be denied that we all have a choice how we view our life experiences. You can dwell on the anguish or you can make another decision, and experience the BLESSING in doing so…

If nothing else, I hope you will pause to rethink how you feel about your life and your experiences. I know this to be true: From the moment you begin to see each life experience as a blessing, an opportunity to grow and be blessed, it will begin to morph into exactly that…thrilling you in ways you may never have previously expected!

Nearly two years ago, I was struck by this epiphany and it has changed my life completely! Everything I experience is now a blessing…either obviously so, or in choosing to find the abundant blessings and silver linings.

Is there an experience in your life that you can begin to see as a blessing? Please take a moment to share it with us below.

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