be less stressed Jul 30, 2018



July 30, 2018  

Kudos to davidji on his book destressifying: The Real-World Guide to Personal Empowerment, Lasting Fulfillment, and Peace of Mind, published in 2015 by Hay House. I believe this is an excellent read for people who want to learn more about the science and research into the effects of stress and discover additional tools to manage stress – “destressifying.” davidji is an internationally recognized stress-management expert, meditation master, author and former Chopra Center COO and lead educator.  Early on in his career, he was in finance and M&A on Wall Street. I knew there was something about his journey that deeply resonated with me!  Just FYI, davidji is into lower case because he feels it is more graceful and flowing. 

As many of you know, I am an avid researcher and reader. I have been all my life -- since I was a little girl in school, continuing through my career as head of credit research at a top tier investment bank and now as a coach. So, I want to share selected books I have found valuable on my journey.  I hope this is a great start and one of many “book shares” to come. 

If you have a book you would like to share, please let me know. We all learn and grow together. 

The top 4 reasons I liked the book ”destressifying were:

  1. The sections on what stress does to your body and your mind were readable, in plain English, and well-informed on the latest research.
  2. The book integrates well-known frameworks such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, with the idea that people typically experience unmet needs 8-15 times a day. With an 8-hour sleep cycle that means we experience unmet needs – davidji’s definition of stress – every 1 to 2 hours a day.
  3. The approach is comprehensive and deep, with destressifying requiring mastering your: Awareness; Needs; Emotions; Communication; and Purpose in life.
  4. There are numerous practical examples from everyday life as well as a section on practical “stress busters,” which covers lifestyle choices and an Index of Meditations and Exercises. The 30 davidji meditations and exercises are a great resource.

In general, the themes in “destressifying” also reinforce many of the key elements in our From Stressed to Best coaching practice, including the central importance of deep diaphragmatic breathing, the core concept that emotions are choices and you can take control, as well as the idea that how you talk to yourself and others, the words you choose, are vitally important to your stress management practices.


My Favorite Section: The Three Gates.

While I had heard the phrase before, “The Three Gates,” I was a little vague on the concept. I also did not know it is similar to Socrates’s The Questions, and the Quakers’ Test of Three. As davidji writes: “The premise of The Three Gates is that just because you think something, that doesn’t mean you have to say it. In fact, before you say something… anything… you should pass your words through three gates to see if those words are worthy of making it into the tangible world.”

 The three gates/filters are: 

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it kind? 
  3. Is it necessary or useful? 

So, whatever thought may have popped into your mind, only allow the words to pop out of your mouth if they make it through the three gates/filters. If the thought does not meet any one of these tests, stay silent and move on. This process is not complicated and may take only a few seconds of quick reflection.

The Three Gates concept resonates with one of my core beliefs: our words matter. Just think about how many times you have wished you had not said something or said it exactly that way or with that emotion and intent.  Practice and experience the power of The Three Gates. Imagine your feelings, when you know the words you speak are True, Kind and Useful.


Everyone has a Four-Step Program  

Well, the idea that everyone has a 4-Step Program for managing stress may be something of an exaggeration, I do know that Deepak Chopra has a 4-step action plan called “STOP.” davidji has a 4-step plan, called Reach for SODA. We discussed our From Stress to Best4-Step Action in our last Blog, "Take Back Control: How to Escapee the Flight/Fright Response.    

Let’s compare SODA and our Stressed to Best Program. 

Reach for SODA:

I want to be true to davidji’s explanation of Reach for SODA. What follows is an excerpt from “destressifying,” page 46-47:

“As soon as you … feel anxiety surge into your belly or the tightening come into your chest or the heat rise into your throat – Reach for SODA

     Stop whatever you are doing or thinking. Just stop.

     Observe yourself –  where you are, whom you are with, 
      what's going on from a witnessing perspective. Feel 
      yourself  rise to the top of the room, observing yourself
      with no opinion.  

     Detach -- for just a moment -- from the drama, charge, and
     emotion of the situation and take a long, slow deep breath
     in. At the same time, ever so subtlety, step, lean, or... roll
     back a few inches. Then take a long, slow exhale, which will
     bring some release from the turbulence.  

    Awaken to a better version of yourself, the part of you that
    makes you feel proud of how you respond to life. 

Reaching for Soda can stop you from having regrets later in the day as your emotional intelligence blossoms and blooms while your stress level eases. Essentially, when you Reach for SODA, you introduce a brief interruption in your conditioned stress-response mechanism and stop the trajectory of whatever emotional hostage taking was about to occur." 

Beautiful. Simple. Memorable. Something that we all can learn. davidji’s teaching of this tool has helped many people.


From Stressed to BestTM 4-Step Action Plan

Every 10 page “Stress Reduction Guide by Personality Type by Ruth E. Schneider and David S. Prudhomme concludes with The Four-Step Program – The From Stressed to Bestfor ___ -- fill in the blank with YOUR 4-Letter Personality Type. For example, mine is INFJ.

This is an excerpt from the Four-Step From Stressed to Best Program: 

  1. "I will be consciously aware of the signs that I am in my Stress Mode – [Ed. Note: the text goes on to highlight the specific Stress Mode for your 4-Letter Personality Type. For example, for me, an INFJ, my Stress Mode is Extraverted Sensing. There are 4 bullets that remind me/you of the behaviors we tend to exhibit in our Stress Mode.] 

  2. I will choose to STOP my automatic reaction because now I know that the true source of my stress is my reaction, not the situation or the person. [The text continues on to reinforce the process of how we take back control from the automatic Fight or Flight Response.] 
  1. I will STOP and take a few slow, deep breaths to regain control. [Ed. Note: the text goes on to reinforce the importance of deep diaphragmatic breathing and triggering the Relaxation Response.] 
  1. I will then “consciously” gain control of myself and shift to my Best Mode [for me, as an INFJ, Introverted iNntuition], because I have now relaxed my mind and body. [Ed. Note.: The text continues to discuss the type of behavior when we are in our Best Mode.]

                             Now I am in control!”


Beautiful. Simple. An action plan specific to YOU – to your Personality Type. This tool, created by Ruth E. Schneider and David S. Prudhomme, has helped many people.   

Well, we don’t have a short acronym. The reason is because we use your 4-Letter Personality Type as the framework – and we all know that what stresses me out may be very different from what stresses you out. The good news – the action plan is very specific about the types of behaviors and emotions that we exhibit in our Stress Mode – when we use our “smallest muscle” -- and also very specific about our behaviors  and emotions when we are in our Best Mode – our largest, most developed muscle – where we are most effective comfortable and productive. It is unique to YOU. 


Conclusion: We Are All Saying the Same Thing

My personal conclusion is that we are all saying essentially the same thing – just a little differently. The tools are quite similar – and they have differences. It is up to YOU to decide what tools work best for you. 

The great news is we have a wide array of well-grounded and well-researched tools to choose from that have proven track records in helping people manage their everyday stress. 

"You can't stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf" is a quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn which I love to use in my seminars. The imagery and the metaphor is fun!. We can learn how to respond, rather than react. We can learn how to take back control. We can learn how to reduce our stress. Learning to surf -- learning to destressify -- is fun! Equally important, it improves our health and every relationship in our life -- including our relationship with our self. 


Till next time, 



  May you be happy now and always, Alison 


References and Resources:

  • destressifying: The Real-World Guide to Personal Empowerment, Lasting Fulfillment, and Peace of Mind, by davidji.
  • From Stressed to Best Stress Reduction Guide for Each 4-Letter Personality Type, by Ruth E Schneider and David S Prudhomme.
  • From Stressed to Best” A Proven Program for Reducing Everyday Stress, by Ruth E. Schneider and David S. Prudhomme.

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