The holidays are coming … exciting fun and joy!
Yet why can this also be one of the most stressful times of the year for many?
Because of high expectations and family.
Stress can suddenly appear out of nowhere.
Something important doesn't work the way you have planned. Somebody unpleasant shows up suddenly. Or worse nothing happens because you are all alone.We'll talk about a few of these stresses to get you well prepared.
Good stress, bad stress
Don’t forget the holidays are a wonderful experience for most, especially if there are kids around. There is excitement, anticipation and preparation. Even if there are some big stresses with the holidays, much of the time it can be just a great experience. But one single bad thing can ruin it for you. So what is this thing with good stress - bad stress?
Hans Selye, the Austrian-Canadian genius, defined and researched stress. He talked about eustress and distress. Everybody knows distress. It makes you feel bad, unhappy, scared or angry. A lot of distress will even make you sick. Eustress is just the opposite. "Eu" comes from Greek and means good. So eustress means good stress. With good stress you feel excited, challenged, motivated and fulfilled. Clearly for the holidays you want the good stress and not the bad.
Science tells us old survival brain causes all stress
You want the good stress, excitement, good feelings and fun with family and friends. It's important to know that bad stress comes from your old brain. The problem is that you don't have direct control over that. That part of your brain sits below your thinking brain. It does pretty much what it wants. Its function is to keep you safe. But it was created for very different circumstances.
Your old brain was created for you to survive as a hunter and gatherer 100,000s of years ago. Our brain hasn’t changed much since. It isn’t always working well in modern life. But it runs your feelings and your automatic reactions in your life anyway.
Your old brain and your holidays
To keep you safe the old brain "thinks" that any change is dangerous. It actually doesn't think. It make you feel uncomfortable if something changes which you are used to,
It is subconscious without logic.
The nature of its programs say, "you have survived thus far, therefore we don't want to change a thing." That is the main reason even the unfortunate things you do in your life are difficult to change. That's true for example for too much eating, drinking, smoking, etc. and worse!
The second thing your old brain does, it keeps score of all the bad things which ever happened to you. Your dad or teacher criticized you, somebody hit you, treated you badly, anything like that. Here are two examples how this works.
Say your mom made Christmas perfect.
Everything was beautiful and every detail was perfection, from Christmas tree to dinner table, from gifts prepared to food and drink. Perhaps she didn't go to work and had the time to make it perfect. Perhaps it wasn’t perfect but you remember it as such. But now you are a working mom already stretched to the limit.
Can you relax and have a simpler Christmas?
Can you now change, make dinner easy, use paper plates and buy the ham or turkey cooked? Or make a healthy easy veggie meal? You see it’s not easy to break old traditions. And if you do some others may complain. It would be logical to make it easy, yet your old brain has no logic. It just wants you to do things the same way your family always has done.
Or something worse… on holidays your family was not a happy place. There was tension, silence or sharp words, too much alcohol and verbal fights. Some may even have experienced violence. Unfortunately your old brain thinks that is okay. You did survive and therefore all that happened is important to help you live another day. Change is not natural or easy. You may need help from people who are well qualified.
What do you want?
This is important. Take inventory. Write it down. What do you want? What worked well, what did you like in past holidays? What else would feel good and make it fun for you and yours? To get control over old brain impulses it is important you start with what you want, what feels good! The old brain works with feelings, not with logic.
Why is it a good thing to write it down?
Again, it is your old brain. As you get your paper or tablet - hey, not ancient stone tablet - your old brain gets activated and starts to pay attention. Actually, the stone tablet was only half a joke; to carve it into stone really would get your old brain fully involved. Therefore, write down what you like.
Write down some features of the happy past. That will give both your thinking brain and your old brain a pleasant focus. Your emotions will be positive and strong.
Try something different
Now think of things you don't want, past events on holidays which led to pain. Next think of ways to plan your holidays which will make sure there is no pain. Write down specific ways for each problem to not occur. Some examples:
Your old brain loves to see it crossed out
Now cross off each item you don’t want off the list. This communicates better to your subconscious. Next read out loud all the good things. Again your old brain hears it and will change more easily.
Old wisdom and new
Why is your old brain so powerful? Why does it make you do things you don't really want? Why are you not even aware of it?
"If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got!"
How does it stop you from trying something new? It will cause you stress! And stress will pull a lot of blood quite fast and automatically from your new brain where all your thinking happens. Your thinking brain has no more oxygen, you feel fogged up, anxious and not clear. Actually, we wrote a report for you with all the dangers caused by your old brain and stress, click here and get your free copy.
Easy way to manage old brain stress
Your brain is fogged up, no clear thinking, procrastination, indecision.
That is what happens without oxygen in your "new" brain, the only place where you have logic and can think. What can you do? How do you get oxygen and blood where you now need it most?
There is a simple answer your old brain likes. MOVE! Take a brisk walk, go to the gym, do your favorite workout! Get breathing deeply, work up some sweat. Now your blood flows full of oxygen.
Your thinking brain works well again. Clarity, energy and focus have returned. Now you can make new decisions and take new actions with success. This is the best time to make new plans, be well prepared and now create your holidays to be refreshing, full of fun. Leave out the drudgery, complexities and stress. KISS, Keep It Simple Smart one.
Learn more and a gift idea:
Learn all you need to know about stress and how to manage it successfully in any situation. Get the book
The Girl Who Couldn’t Laugh, The Neuroscience of Stress Management
We cut the price in half from $19.90 down to $9.90 for the Holidays!
Get the book for yourself or as a gift for just $9.90 Paperback or Kindle!
And make your holidays simple, easy, fun.
Create new memories in your old brain to be proud of!
Warm regards, Fred & Judy
Fred George Sauer, MS, MS Eng, Chief Stress Coach, Performance & Productivity Specialist
Judith Lynch-Sauer, PhD, RN, Scientific Advisor, Clinical Professor of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing ret.
Yes, absolutely! Not only can you be healthier and happier in 20 seconds, you can get rid of stress. You can improve your most important relationships. You can even rekindle the flames if the passion in your relationship with your partner has cooled.
Wow, that seems to be a lot. You ask, you are not kidding me, are you? No, I’m not kidding. In my research for the SciStress techniques I am occasionally coming across some other techniques which are very powerful and very fast.
In my mind, fast and powerful are the important criteria to combat stress. Reducing stress will improve health, well-being and performance. Yes, there are lots of great things you can do to improve your health, your well-being and be better at what you do. These are meditation, mindfulness, exercise, yoga, good nutrition and so on. They are all wonderful and important but they take time and effort.
I am looking for things you can do quickly and easily right now. I am looking for simple techniques which are yet powerful and fast in their effectiveness. So here is one a dear friend, mentioned to me. I did more research. Judy and I and a few close friends tried it out. Here is what we found:
It works fantastically well. It really takes only 20 seconds. It is helping improve life every day.
Here is the secret
What could be that powerful and fast? The secret technique is the 20-second hug! Yes, you are reading this correctly. A normal hug has been measured to be exactly 3 seconds long. The 20 seconds make a huge difference. In 20 seconds your nervous system will switch from activity and stress to sensitivity and relaxation. You really can feel and appreciate the other person on a very basic sensory level. That is powerful.
Set a timer
When you first try this out you need to set a timer. The first dozen times 20 seconds seems an awfully long time. As you get used to it the 20 seconds will become shorter and shorter. You might even be tempted to linger a bit longer … maybe 30 seconds.
Try it out now
As soon as you get a chance, try it out. You will feel better right away. It will work no matter how you feel before. And the great thing is that the other person will feel the same way. They too will feel better and more relaxed. They will feel closer to you.
Why is a hug so powerful?
Because a hug is a purely sensory thing. There are no words, there is no logic. Therefore a hug speaks directly to your powerful emotional brain, the limbic system, also called mammalian brain. A hug sneaks around your thinking brain, the neocortex. Your emotional brain instantly communicates that good feeling to your instinctive brain, the reptilian brain.
Your instinctive brain then switches your autonomic nervous system from the stress mode into relaxation mode, from sympathetic to parasympathetic. Meanwhile your thinking brain, the neocortex, doesn’t really know what’s going on because your two old brains function subconsciously. The only thing your neocortex knows is the feel-good signal which the limbic system is sending up to it to the conscious level.
Here you have it, a brief summary of the brain science behind the 20 seconds of hugging. Obviously, there’s a lot more to say about this emotional signal processing. You can read about gruesome details in my breakthrough book about the neuroscience of stress management: “The Girl Who Couldn’t Laugh.”
In a way it is really funny, if something makes us feel good, happier and healthier and improves our relationship it is still not good enough for our “thinking brain”. Our thinking brain doesn’t believe it until there is “scientific research”. Okay, I am an engineer after all and I certainly value scientific research. Yet sometimes I wonder whether in our modern society we have forgotten to value our personal experience and common sense. We feel good deep down. And what a miracle, the other person feels good deep down too! Isn’t that proof enough?
But fortunately we also have some solid scientific research to back up the personal experience. Researchers at the Carnegie Melon University in Pittsburgh found that hugging protects against stress and infections.
Another study on partner support found that “warm contact” between partners reduces stress hormones and blood pressure and increases the pleasurable bonding hormone oxytocin. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16046364
2 further studies show that brief warm social and physical contact improves blood pressure and cardiovascular health
Now you know for sure, it doesn’t only feel good and make you happy, it is scientifically proven! Now finally your neocortex can believe it!
Prescription: Hug your loved ones at least 3 times a day for 20 seconds - it will make you both happier and keep the doctor away.
With a long hug and the warmest wishes for a stress free life,
Fred and Judy
Fred George Sauer, MS, MS Eng, Stress Reduction Coach, Business Process Improvement & Productivity Specialist
Judith Lynch-Sauer, PhD, RN, Clinical Professor of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing
Fred with some of the attendees
On June 19, we presented the keynote address at the monthly dinner meeting of the American Business Women’s Association, ABWA, a delightful group of energetic professionals. Women in business have special stress issues which we discussed.
Women’s Special Stress Issues at Work
Then we offered and demonstrated a powerful solution:
SciStress Quick-Help Process
We demonstrated the “Stress Now” Quick-Help Process a couple of times to give ABWA members an opportunity to experience how the technique can be used and what the effects are in a short time. Unfortunately there is not time to provide adequate training in a brief presentation. However, the ABWA Board has expressed interest in offering a workshop for the techniques to members.
NOTE: the SciStress “Stress Now” Quick-Help Technique is detailed in the book “The Girl Who Couldn’t Laugh” page 177.
We all can see why it is so important to manage our stresses consistently!
At the end of the meeting, Judith was inducted as a member of the ABWA
We thank the ABWA for the honor and opportunity to share our work with them.
If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to send them to us:
Enjoy a low stress life with SciStress!
Fred and Judy
Fred George Sauer, MS, MS Eng, Stress Management Coach, Business Process Improvement & Productivity Specialist, Author
Judith Lynch-Sauer, PhD, RN, Stress Scientist, Ret. Clinical Professor of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing
Hey, what has the New Year to do with the one to 80 advantage? Advantage over what?
Okay! This has something to do with New Year’s resolutions. It has also something to do with how your mind works.
The new year just started and very likely you’ve made some New Year’s resolutions. The new year seems to you like a great opportunity to make a new start and do better this year than last.
Now here is it where you can improve your chances to be successful by a factor of 80. Sounds pretty unbelievable, right?
How can you make your chances to succeed 80 times greater? Naturally you have some doubts. And yet there is research and practical experience which shows there is a workable system to do it.
Want to find out more? Then read on.
What is this system? What can make it 80 times more likely for you to achieve your goals for the new year? There are basically 2 steps:
So here is the math of success: 10 times 8 and voila here is 80! When you write down your goals and read them at least once every day out loud your chances for success improve 80 times. That is 80 times over just thinking about some goals for the New Year and not writing them down or reading them out regularly.
What do you think? Is such an advantage worth a little daily effort???
Here are 2 more tricks to make your goal setting work even more effective. The key here is that it is the subconscious part of your mind which will do most of the work for you. Therefore, you have to make your goals easy and convincing for your subconscious:
Make your goal a powerful statement – “Affirmation”
Picture your goal vividly – “Vision Board”
Pictures go directly to your subconscious and stick there. Your goals automatically get support. A fun and easy way to do this is with a “Vision Board”. Find photos and artwork from magazines, the web or newspapers which make you feel good and represent your goals in some exciting way. Take these pictures and clue or tape them to a bulletin board. Hang the board at a place which gives you some privacy but also where you can see it easily and frequently.
A workshop participant in Germany told me she did this for several years each New Year and each time succeeded achieving at least 80% of her goals.
OK, now get going to start your New Year out with a powerful initiative. That’s how you get control.
To your SUCCESS! Fred George Sauer
In July we had planned a Focus Group to find out what participants would think about our SciStress training and what results they could achieve in a short time. We concentrated what normally would be a full day’s training into 2 ½ hours. I felt that was a challenge. Also, everyone had indicated in a pre-survey that they were quite skeptical to begin with.
So I was pleasantly surprised how much we could pack into that short a time. I was even more surprised about the results our participants could achieve. Now take a look at the brief videos to find out what some of them had to say after the training.
"Afterwards, I felt more relaxed and peaceful. I’m excited to go home and build it into my daily routine." - S.H.
"The first time I had a really strongly troublesome memory like a 9 or a 10 on the troublesome scale and just doing one quick round it had come down to about a 4 and we did it again and it was about a level 2 or 3." - V.M.
What are other participants saying? You can watch the rest of the videos here.
Want to get the same results for yourself?
Here is how you can find out! You can learn the SciStress Techniques and why they are so easy and work so well from the book "The Girl Who Couldn't Laugh: The Neuroscience of Stress Management."
This book tells you how your mind really works, how it creates problems for you at times, and how you can manage those problems more easily. We make that bit of science easy and fun to understand. We do that with personal stories of people’s experiences. It’s a journey of discovery into your own mind.
>> Learn More
Enjoy the journey!
Your stress coach, Fred George Sauer
Fred George Sauer Founder of SciStress
Find Out More
PO Box 396 Ann Arbor, MI 48105