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Welcome to “destressifying”

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destressifying book coverdestressifying
The Real-World Guide to Personal Empowerment, Lasting Fulfillment, and Peace of Mind

This book is dedicated to anyone who has ever
experienced the pain in their belly, the tightness in their
chest, the weight on their heart, the throb in their temple,
the clench in their jaw, the closing of their throat, the holding
in of their breath, and the not holding in of a harsh word.
. . . and to all those who breathe in stress every day
only to have it fulfill them, to inspire and motivate
them to be the best version of themselves.

PRAISE FOR “destressifying”

“davidji is a wonderful teacher who brings joy and awareness to the world.” —Dr. Deepak Chopra

“I love the genuineness and raw simplicity of davidji’s powerful message.” —Laurent Potdevin, CEO, lululemon

“This is a very high-powered book. Stressful thinking is wreaking havoc on the lives of so many in our fast-paced world. davidji offers a comprehensive course written in a language that you can grasp and apply immediately, all within the covers of one book. I loved it and am recommitted to in-the-moment destressifying.”Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, #1 New York Times best-selling author of I Can See Clearly Now

“I highly recommend destressifying as essential reading for anyone who wants to live a more peaceful and joyful life!” —Dr. Barbara De Angelis

“I’m a huge fan and a lucky friend. I love being in davidji’s great, robust, rich, delicious, deep, peaceful, funny, people- and animal-loving presence. He’s a wonderful teacher, and destressifying is a book we all need to read and embrace.” —Kris Carr

“In a world where stress has become an epidemic, this book is a must-read. davidji’s wisdom and tools will clear the blocks to the presence of peace we all long for.” —Gabrielle Bernstein

“davidji is a gentle, kind, patient, clever teacher whose words can help lighten your stress and facilitate your quest for greater wisdom.” —Martha Beck

“Thanks to davidji’s guidance, we have a better understanding of what peace of mind is and how to achieve it.” —John W. Thiel, CEO, Merrill Lynch

“davidji has the solutions that protect those who protect us.With davidji, the Blue Courage team of police officers—who teach thousands of cops annually—have laughed, cried, learned, grown, and transformed. destressifying is your must-read! Thank you, davidji!” —Michael J. Nila, police commander (Ret.), Blue Courage founder

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It all begins with awareness.

Several years ago, Michael Nila—a retired commander and
29-year veteran of the Aurora, Illinois, police department—approached me to teach his core team of Blue Courage police
officers the practice of destressifying. He felt cops around the country would really benefit from my teachings, but he had concerns regarding how members of law enforcement would
receive the word “meditation.” I emphasized to him that awareness
was the goal, and that meditation was simply one of the tools we
would use to get us there.

I shared with him one of my earliest experiences as a stress management trainer. I had been invited to share some destressifying
tips after a day at the beach with a few friends in the military. They suggested we leave the sand and head over to join an impromptu meeting already in progress a few miles away at Camp Pendleton the Marine Corps’ largest West Coast expeditionary training facility, spanning more than 125,000 acres of Southern California terrain and home to more than 30,000 residents.

They made a few calls, and we made our way down a series of winding dirt roads and through various security checkpoints to arrive at what seemed like a sweet small town with a coffee shop, restaurants, a medical clinic, even a swimming pool. We then drove deeper into the compound, leaving the innocence behind and nearing the training facilities where soldiers, sailors, Marines, and Special Forces learn to fight, shoot, and master the art of warfare.

I felt more and more like a stranger in a strange land, passing training facilities, firing ranges, and mock-ups of buildings used to simulate raids. I was out of my element. In the distance, I could hear gunfire, helicopters, drill sergeants barking, and the nonstop sound of explosions. We pulled up to a wooden shack, where my friend opened the door with a broad grin and ushered me forth. We stepped inside and he announced, “Here’s a guy who thinks he can help us destressify.”

The snickers were audible as I slowly walked to the front of the space, and there I was, standing in a room full of 15 arm-crossed Marines with high and tight “jarhead” haircuts. My long, white hair flowing past my shoulders, along with my signature Superman T-shirt with an “Om” in the middle of the emblem instead of an “S,” were probably not the best starting points. As I shifted my gaze from one set of steely eyes to the next, I uttered out loud, “What was I thinking?”

In this room were some of the bravest and best-trained beings to ever walk our planet . . . perfect physical specimens with multiple tours of duty under their belts, fresh from a ten-mile run. And mentally, these guys were considered the toughest of the tough. I was in awe and a bit embarrassed about whether I could teach these heroic Marines anything about life. Most of them had witnessed, engaged in, and experienced more moments of uncertainty, pain, pressure, violence, courage, death, and destruction than the rest of us could ever conjure in the darkest corners of our minds. I must have seemed like a really bad joke.

And in that moment, I was positive that I had stepped into the wrong classroom. They didn’t know whether to laugh, leave, capture me, or shoot me. And then I began to talk about Kandahar and the soldiers there who meditated every day with me for two months to stay sane between missions in the dusty heat of the day and their frigid nightly patrols . . .I shared my story of a friend who was blinded by shrapnel from an IED on the side of the road in Tikrit—and how two of my students in an infantry regiment, scheduled for redeployment, instead were incinerated in their older-model Humvee the day before their departure, during an ambush in the northern Iraqi town of Hajiawa . . .I spoke of the work I had done with an elite team of Dutch Special Forces on the eve of their mission into Syria and the benefits that so many of these warrior guardians had gleaned to remain whole throughout their various operations in the face of the unspeakable.

Slowly, the Marines’ arms uncrossed. They relaxed a bit more in their seats. Their stern faces melted into tolerance . . . and then acceptance. They began to reveal that they were also fathers and brothers, husbands and teammates, and these were areas of their lives where they sought wholeness. They politely allowed me to teach them how to meditate, to dial back the stress hormone surges, slow their bodies’ raging chemical responses, and ease their relentless state of hypervigilance—all so critical for survival and performance in the heat of battle, and so distracting and damaging in their noncombat lives. Even Marines can benefit from replenishing their sense of calm, rebuilding their resilience, and clearing their minds at the end of a grueling or unthinkable day rather than self-medicating or numbing themselves to noncombat life.

They shared with me that throughout their deployment, they had made life-or-death decisions, pondered their morality, fought boredom, leapt into action, gone on autopilot, had their patience tried, snapped at their colleagues, tested their resolve, pushed their bodies and their minds to the brink—and beyond. Many had been involved in firefights, mortar attacks, and ambushes that sometimes raged for hours as they watched their comrades get wounded, lose limbs, and even get picked off by snipers. Others had desensitized their physiology by repetitively firing M16 “thunder makers” that had left them barely able to hear, barely able to feel . . . anything. Some had been shaken so completely by the relentless pounding of incoming mortar fire that the cells in their bodies felt liquefied. And others felt strengthened by the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” reality of surviving multiple deployments.

Several Marines admitted to having daily surges of panic and reactivity under nonthreatening circumstances since returning home. Others couldn’t shake their nonstop state of hypervigilance. They opened up about the challenge of figuring out how to better communicate with loved ones and how the true battle actually began once they were back stateside, sitting in traffic alone with their memories or walking through life’s daily activities off base.

Together we explored the core elements of destressifying, and I shared a few destressifying practices to help them ease the violent visions that visited them most nights in their dreams. We practiced a few core breathing techniques to help them wind themselves back down and connect to the present moment. We even practiced a body-scan meditation to help them awaken emotions that had become deadened over multiple tours. When the impromptu class was finished, each Marine shook my hand and hugged me. Some of them even became emotional with gratitude. We had just scratched the surface, but they hankered for deeper destressifying tools and invited me to keep working with them for several weeks afterward. The results were profound. Oorah! Semper fi!

The depth of the transformation for all of us was palpable. It remains one of the most transformational days of my life; but throughout our game-changing few hours together, I never once used the word meditation. Instead, I spoke of the concept of awareness and introduced them to awareness tools and powerful destressifying practices to help them better understand and interact with themselves, their environment, and those around them. It was then that I coined the term tactical breathing, which to this day is used by members of law enforcement and the military, including Special Forces, to begin their process of destressifying.

As Nelson Mandela is reported to have said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” This was a huge Aha! moment for me, as I realized that the transformational power of these teachings rests in their translation. And so over the decade following that insight, I immersed myself in a body of knowledge that spanned thousands of years. I studied with some of the greatest masters of our time; I explored age-old scholarly texts; I traveled throughout the world gleaning insights from Eastern philosophies and ancient practices. In time, as lead educator of the Chopra Center and the first dean of Chopra Center University, I was privileged to teach large groups at weeklong retreats and smaller gatherings in workshop settings, where translating timeless wisdom into real-world practical application became my mission.

Over the years, my students numbered in the tens of thousands, and they came from every walk of life—highly successful executives and their assistants, movie stars and the homeless, soldiers and yogis, judges and convicts, children and their nannies, musicians and engineers, nurses and hospital patients, investment bankers and Wall Street occupiers, professional athletes and soccer moms, entrepreneurs and construction workers, artists and philanthropists, welfare recipients and mayors, taxi drivers and commuters, politicians and neuroscientists.

After ten years as lead educator, COO, and dean of Chopra Center University, I stepped down to travel the world and inspire the thousands of teachers I had certified during my tenure and to lead by example. My unique background—a 20-year fusion of real-world business, modern science, and timeless wisdom— had equipped me to help individuals and organizations move in directions they craved but had never envisioned. I began my new mission of translating this vast body of knowledge into 21st century life wisdom. I launched my own teacher trainings and empowerment workshops, where I taught others to apply these powerful teachings to modern-day situations. And in time, I began training high-stress, highly pressured businesspeople, lawyers, doctors, healers, stay-at-home parents, directors, managers, advisors, and entrepreneurs to become masters of destressifying, as well as teaching members of the U.S. military, Dutch Special Forces, Canadian Mounties, and U.S. law enforcement through Michael Nila’s Blue Courage initiative with the support of the Department of Justice.

Over the years, these students of destressifying have leveraged the principles into the way they run their processes, their teams, their units, their departments, their businesses, and their own lives in the big and smaller moments.

You are probably not a Marine, even though you may wake up some mornings feeling like you’re going into battle. And maybe after reading this, you feel as though your issues pale in comparison to those of someone who has experienced the horrors of war. But even for us regular folk, life can still be grueling; confusing; painful; disappointing; and filled with struggle, critical decisions, battles of the heart, nagging issues, and relentless waves of stress.

Most likely, you are a regular person like me who wakes up each day in the comfort of your home. Maybe you walk your dog or dress your kids, make yourself a cup of coffee or a bowl of cereal. You shower, you dress, and you head out to work to begin your day. Before all that, you check your messages upon waking. The e-mails flow into your inbox . . . the texts stack up . . . you go through the same conditioned daily rituals you have for the past decade—but at a faster pace than you did last year. You burn through the day sometimes on autopilot—return home, eat dinner, and then collapse.

Your life unfolds at high velocity as you try to live each moment with purpose and meaning, try to make the best decisions, try to show up and be the best version of yourself, try to add value to the world . . . to your life . . . and to the lives of others. Some days it flows more easily than others. But every few hours throughout the day, you experience moments where your needs are not met, your expectations don’t unfold as predicted, or someone or something throws you for a loop. You say or do something you wish you hadn’t; what once seemed clear is now filled with a swirl of confusion; you keep running out of time; you start taking shortcuts when you should have thought through a solution more carefully. And your bigger issues, your career, health, money, and relationships—and even your lifelong dreams—seem to take a backseat to the hundreds of less profound but necessary daily chores, responsibilities, and commitments.

As you try to juggle all these lower- and higher-value tasks with everything else swirling around in your life, the result is stress. And the consequences can be devastating as you end up sacrificing the clarity of your thoughts, the impeccability of your words, the brilliance of your decision making, the potential of high performance, and the fulfillment of your dreams and desires. But these harmful aspects are not the only side of stress. The most recent science is now demonstrating that stress can also strengthen us, build emotional resilience and mental toughness, help us forge deeper relationships, and teach us profound lessons. This was my inspiration to share the practices of destressifying with you, as the newest studies have opened a door to understanding stress as multidimensional—a destroyer of mental and physical health and a life-affirming and healing force. It’s all a function of our perception in the moment.

destressifying is not simply another book about meditation. I already wrote that book—it’s called Secrets of Meditation. It’s now translated into 12 languages and has even won awards (hopefully you’ve read it). And while mastering your awareness is an important building block in the foundation of destressifying, meditation is only one component. It’s the tool for setting the table for all that is to come. But more important, it’s what you unfold in your life outside of meditation, when your eyes are wide open and you’re back here with the rest of us—what you think, what you say, how you live, and what you do in the face of stress—that determines the fabric of your existence!

The reason I wrote destressifying is to share with you a vast, untapped body of knowledge that’s been cloaked in mystery and has remained relatively inaccessible to most people, including:

  • ancient empowerment teachings found exclusively in
    the oral tradition
  • the newest brain-scan technology on the positive and
    negative impact of stress in all sorts of situations
  • long-hidden insights and techniques to shift
    consciousness and communicate more effectively

From this wisdom, I have carefully crafted a time-tested transformation process, translated into a language you understand and using a fresh mind-set in order to move you from where you are to where you’d like to be—emotionally, physically, mentally, materially, in your relationships, and on your path to deeper fulfillment.

destressifying is my way of sharing these profound and deeper “secrets” with you in order to help you transform the way you live your life. There are more than seven billion people on the planet right now; and at the end of our lives, when we leave this physical earth plane and get to the top of the mountain, we’ll look down and realize that there are more than seven billion paths to get there. Each of us has a different access point to timeless wisdom.

Hopefully I’m speaking your language right now!

destressifying is not a term we often think about, but it is essential to our wholeness as individuals. It is our capacity to prepare for, recover from, and adapt in the face of uncertainty, overwhelm, disappointment, stress, adversity, trauma, or tragedy. We’re not simply talking about bouncing back after we’ve faced a challenge, but rather mastering our perception of the moment and cultivating our natural ability to seize that moment and express our best version of ourselves in the face of a demanding, difficult, and taxing situation.

In that process, we self-actualize, we grow, and we thrive. You don’t need to be living life on the edge to destressify—you simply need to be human and to have the desire to express yourself at the highest level. We are all conditioned beings with ancient, primal, biological responses deeply embedded in our DNA. Our emotional defensiveness and reactivity have been woven into the fabric of our thinking by our culture, our parents, our siblings, our schooling, our experiences, our bosses, our colleagues, our children, our partners, our exes, and the early authority figures present during our wonder years. The ripples of those relationships flow through us every day. We all face stress and we will continue to—in our big moments and our quiet contemplations. destressifying will allow you to face it; move through it; transcend it with grace and ease; and come out the other side stronger, calmer, braver, clearer, more powerful, and masterful in living life on planet Earth.

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Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxi
PART I: Stress and destressifying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
CHAPTER 1: Stressed Out? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
CHAPTER 2: What Stress Does to Your Body:
The Fight-or-Flight Response . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
CHAPTER 3: What Stress Does to Your Mind:
The Reactive or Ego Response . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
CHAPTER 4: Beyond Stress: The destressified Response . . . . . . . . . 53
PART II: Mastering the Five Cores of destressifying—
the Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
CHAPTER 5: destressifying by Mastering Your Awareness . . . . . . . . . 75
CHAPTER 6: destressifying by Mastering Your Needs . . . . . . . . . . 111
CHAPTER 7: Using the Five Realms to Master Your Needs . . . . . . . 141
CHAPTER 8: destressifying by Mastering Your Emotions . . . . . . . . . 155
CHAPTER 9: destressifying by Mastering Your Communication . . . . . . 177
CHAPTER 10: destressifying by Mastering Your Purpose in Life . . . . . . 209
PART III: Living a destressifying Life and Keeping It Real . . 243
CHAPTER 11: destressifying Through Lifestyle Choices . . . . . . . . . 247
CHAPTER 12: In-the-Moment destressifying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
Afterword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273
Index of Meditations and Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281

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It’s pernicious . . . it’s diabolical . . . it creeps into every moment in our lives. We’ve been told about its evils since we were children. It influences our relationships, impacts our physical body, works its way into our conversations, sparks non-nourishing behaviors, forces us to do things we’d never want to do. It’s infectious; it’s contagious; it’s relentless . . . It’s stress!

We know it. We all have it. We all experience it. It’s the human condition—especially when you learn its simple definition: Stress is how we respond when our needs are not met. Human beings experience this phenomena 8 to 15 times a day. And assuming our typical eight hours of sleep, that’s an unmet need every one to two hours! But it’s what we do with it, it’s how we respond to our unmet needs—what we think, the words we speak, and how we react to each other and our unmet needs—that determines the fabric of our life.

Stress is universal because our needs are universal. Yet the individual way each of us responds to having our needs met, and how we respond when they aren’t met, become this unique mosaic we call our reality. As we sway relentlessly between the realms of our met and unmet needs, the world swirls around us. And in critical moments when we crave clarity, the spontaneous right thought, word, or action . . . when we wish it could just slow down a bit so that we could make the best, most conscious choice for ourselves and everyone around us . . . boom! Instead, we may find ourselves swept up in a tsunami of thoughts, fears, confusion, overwhelm, regrettable behaviors, knee-jerk emotions, and conditioned reactions.

Hormones and chemicals surge through our body, constricting our blood vessels, shallowing our breathing, thickening our blood, heightening our sugar levels, and suppressing our immune system. But wait—the most recent scientific research now points to the fact that stress is not necessarily bad for us. It may even add value to our lives. Stress has now been proven to enhance performance by focusing us and pushing us forward in the direction of our goals, and with this stress-driven motivation comes increased productivity and greater satisfaction. Severe stress—such as in the aftermath of a trauma—has even been credited with birthing many of our Aha! moments, reinforcing our relationships, and elevating our journey of personal development. It’s even been confirmed that stress has restorative properties that can increase health and rejuvenate cells after the initial ordeal.

But the long-term implications of stress are all based on our perceptions of it. Under the guidance of Dr. Richard J. Davidson, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison performed an eight-year study on perception of stress and its impact on mortality. More than 25,000 participants were asked to rate their stress levels over the past year and rank how much they believed this stress influenced their health. Over the next eight years, public records were used to record the death of any subjects. The test subjects who (1) self-reported high levels of stress and (2) believed stress had a large impact on their health had a 43 percent increased risk of death. However, the test subjects who self-reported a lot of stress but did not interpret its effects as negative had the fewest deaths over the eight years.

The main reason most people suffer with stress is because they don’t have the right tools to address it. It is the reason I twisted for more than 20 years in the corporate world, struggling with restless sleep, living without balance, feeling overwhelmed, and searching for deeper fulfillment that rarely seemed to come . . . and was fleeting when it did. I didn’t know what the tools were—nor did I have the manual on how to use them. I didn’t even know there were tools! But right now you’re way ahead of where I was, and I have spent the past 14 years compiling the research and studying the wisdom needed to live a destressified life. There are five keys to living a destressifying life:

  1. Mastering your awareness
  2. Mastering your needs
  3. Mastering your emotions
  4. Mastering your communication
  5. Mastering your purpose in life

You’ve already taken the most important step by joining me on this journey. And in these pages, we will walk together through each of the masteries until they are embedded within. Once these life tools are part of your thoughts, they will become your internal dialogue . . . and as they entrench themselves into every fiber of your being, they will become your outer dialogue, the way you express yourself with your words and actions. Your perspective on your entire existence will shift. You will become destressified effortlessly.

destressifying transcends the conversation about whether stress is good or bad for you by transporting you to a new and empowered state of consciousness that places you back in control of your emotions, your perception of the world around you, and your interpretation of a stressful moment. Stress is always in the eyes of the beholder! And by adopting a destressifying game plan for life, everything changes—from the very seeds of thought that trickle into your awareness to the chemical and hormonal pulses that drive your emotions to the steps you take with your words and actions.

A Clarification on destressifying
I realize that you may be wondering why the word destressifying is always in lowercase. destressifying has no capital letters because it is a graceful and easy present-moment process. It requires no announcement that it is unfolding; it seamlessly flows into your every word, thought, and action. When we discuss the process, it will look like this: destressifying. When I am referring to the word itself or to the book you are reading right now, it will look like this:

The Blueprint for Our Journey
I’ve divided our journey together into three sections so that you can easily access the content and continue to use this book as a real-life owner’s manual.

Part I will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about stress—how it presents itself, the science behind it, and the biological and emotional reactions we have to it—while laying the foundation to a life that transcends stress.

Part II is the essence of destressifying, where you will actually experience mastery in the core areas of your life—your awareness, your needs, your emotions, your communication, and your purpose.

1. First, I will teach you to master your awareness through the power of accessing the present moment. If you are new to meditation or have never meditated, do not be afraid—I have taught the toughest of the tough and the meekest of the meek to weave this easy tool into their lives. Having the skill to drift into stillness and silence when all else around you is loud and kinetic is a profound ability, and I will show you how to master it so the other benefits of destressifying have a bigger impact in your life. We’ll do it in very small doses, and incrementally your practice will evolve. But that’s just one piece of the process; the full practice of destressifying takes you deeper into other core aspects of your being . . .

2. So after you’ve mastered awareness, you will learn to understand your needs at the deepest level and the motivations behind them. You’ll learn to master your needs by looking at your life through the lens of the Five Realms—a powerful tool to help you let go of what doesn’t serve you and to bring deeper fulfillment into the physical, emotional, material, relationship, and spiritual aspects of your being.

3. Next, you will learn how to master your emotions as you cultivate your emotional awareness, heighten your emotional intelligence, and start to shift the way you respond to the world around you. This process alone will transform every interaction, collaboration, transaction, and communication you have from this moment forward.

4. And to enhance these exchanges between you and others, we’ll embed the critical practice of conscious communication into your vocabulary, and you’ll start to master your communication. You’ll actually begin to listen more, express yourself more clearly, increase the likelihood of your needs being fulfilled, and interact with others at a higher level.

5. You will also learn to use daily tools to help you master your purpose in life as we uncover answers to the age-old questions Who am I? and Why am I here? Upon finishing Part II, you will be comfortable using your tools, and you will have crafted your blueprint for living a destressifying life.

Lastly, Part III is designed to help you keep the practice alive in your everyday life—at home, at work, when you travel, and in any given stressful circumstance. Filled with more in-the-moment stress-busters and guidance on how to keep destressifying flowing in your life on a daily basis, you will settle into destressifying as a proactive lifestyle.

Expanding beyond and blossoming from Part III, I’ve also created an online portal exclusively for readers of destressifying that will allow you to continue destressifying with me in a real-time, interactive, on-demand format. This resource is filled with updated videos, more powerful stress-busting meditations, a bonus chapter on using your five senses to destressify, and the newest scientific research on stress. I invite you to journey with me on a regular basis and reinforce the practice in those moments when stress feels threatening rather than challenging.

Embracing the Stress Paradox
Remember, stress can help us focus, take action, identify our needs that are not being met, enhance our performance, improve our memory, and manage a crisis more effectively. Stress can also push us over the deep end, filling us with anxiety, sadness, and overwhelm; testing our relationships; constricting our emotions; distracting us; and confusing us. This is called the “stress paradox.”

We now know that the same biological response that prepares us for battle when we sense a threat can have positive consequences, in addition to the obvious negative physiological and health-related effects. According to the 2012 research paper “Rethinking Stress: The Role of Mindsets in Determining the Stress Response,” by Alia J. Crum and Peter Salovey of Yale University and Shawn Achor of GoodThink, “the experience of stress elicits anabolic hormones that rebuild cells, synthesize proteins, and enhance immunity, leaving the body stronger and healthier than it was prior to the stressful experience.”

This continuing game-changing research is taking us into uncharted territory regarding our perception of stress and sparking an entirely new dialogue regarding the paradoxical—sometimes counterintuitive—impact it has on our lives. In fact, new terminology is taking shape as stress-related growth is now being referred to in some scientific circles as post-traumatic growth (PTG). Science is now finding that weathering the storm of extreme stress can cultivate our inner resilience (“what doesn’t kill us . . .”), making us mentally stronger after the fact and leading us to forge deeper relationships as we recover and connect with others. In the aftermath, we see the world with new eyes. We’re empowered and brought to a place of deeper understanding of gratitude and purpose.

This doesn’t mean that stress is all good or that it doesn’t damage, debilitate, and wound us, but it suggests instead that there is a fine line of interpretation during and after the stressful moment where we actually get to choose whether stress is harming us or helping us. This foundational paradox is why the process of destressifying makes so much sense. It’s a mind-set, a lifestyle—not simply arresting stress in the moment, but proactively shifting the way you receive, interpret, and respond to life by cultivating a deeper awareness of it and yourself. Ultimately, destressifying means learning to be your best and express yourself at your highest level in every situation. So whether stress is good or bad matters less than what you do with the moment when stress appears and what you do with your life from this moment forward.

So are you ready to destressify? Are you ready to allow the best version of you to shine forth? Right now, in this moment, I invite you to join me on this death-defying, destressifying journey. Are you in?

Then let’s get busy!

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