A Way to Manage Stress


A client wrote that she needed support in facing stress in five areas of her life. She was dealing with emotional, moral, and practical challenges in so many roles/relationships in addition to her health. 


Prior to our conversation I sent her a request: 

Think about each stress separately and give a number 1-10 to each one (1 being no stress). That will help us focus and organize the complexity of stress in your life.


And if you can…for each stress write down your fear, anger, and sadness.


When we had our conversation, she had followed my suggestion and shared how clarifying and empowering the process had been for her. Our conversation was full of insight and inspiration. She left with new perspectives, understanding, and equanimity.

Why Was This Process Empowering

My client’s current life triggered overwhelm and emotion. Her limbic/emotional brain was highly activated and holding all her attention, creating the stress of a soul inflamed with fear, sadness, and anger. 


My suggestions required her to observe and discern her feelings from an objective, non-emotional consciousness and activated her executive function. I didn’t want her to ignore her feelings. I wanted her to evaluate her feelings. She deactivated her stress and activated her self-knowledge and self-compassion. 


She was able to enter our sacred conversation with clarity, not overwhelm. She was calm, not inflamed.


The Importance of Conversation


Our conversation was essential for her process. My client could share her empowered understanding of her feelings and her stressful circumstances knowing she was being witnessed without judgment. 


We could explore her feelings of fear, anger, and sadness without merging them into overwhelm or clouding them with reactive emotions. 


Together we moved toward each stressful circumstance and considered possibilities with openness and equanimity.



After our conversation, I reflected on the process and realized there are three more steps: recognizing choices, making decisions, and finding your sounding board.

Recognizing Choices 


With equanimity, we ask what are the choices given the circumstances? Too often under stress we can’t see the choices. This is another reason we need a sacred conversation with another person who is free of reaction and agenda.


Choices need to be kept free from fantasies or shoulds. 


The right choice is the one that makes us feel most alive, morally and spiritually. It is not about being a good girl or boy or maintaining the status quo. It might even be uncomfortable or challenging, but it is enlivening. 


Making Decisions


Then a decision needs to be made. What needs to be said? What action needs to be taken? An action can be saying yes, or no, or maybe. Sometimes we need to ask a question. Sometimes we need to be silent and still. Sometimes a big change is needed.  Decision take courage…calm courage…self-aware courage.


Stress becomes chronic without choices and decisions. 


A sacred conversation needs to then ask about the consequences of the decisions. Having a sounding board makes finding the truth and standing in the truth of your soul is a beautiful process. 


Finding Your Sounding Board 

In my next email, I will share thoughts on finding your sounding board.


The Overview

The Steps to Manage a Stressful Time:

1. Measure the stress.

2. What are you sad about?

3. What are you angry about?

4. What are you afraid of?

(Even if you think you are only feeling one of these emotions, make sure you work with the other two.)

5. Engage in one or more Sacred Conversations.

6. Notice increasing equanimity with each step.

7. What are your enlivening choices?

8. What actions do you commit to take? Do you have the courage?

9. What will transform? You, another, the circumstances, the future?


I hope these steps will help you manage your stress. Send me an email and let me know.