StressLess:
Stress Management in the Real World

brain
If the stress response is supposedly so bad for us, how come our bodies have it as standard equipment? This talk discusses the nature and origins of the stress response and provides concrete strategies for managing stress more effectively.

We begin with a quick overview of the origins of the stress response in the primitive world, then contrast the types of reactions that are helpful in that world with the reactions that work for most modern stressors. Our “helper” response has become a considerable hindrance in most instances.

We talk about the physiological events making up the stress response - and the effects of these, ranging from cold feet to pounding hearts to chest pains to reduced attentional bandwidth. We consider why animals don’t experience many of the same issues, and how the human brain’s problem-solving function can itself become a problem.

We then shift into coping mode. When the response turns on, what do we do about it? Depending on the length of the talk, we can discuss a variety of stress management strategies. In most versions we conduct in-session diaphragmatic breathing training and give recommendations for practice. In addition, we cover:

  • The effect of exercise on stress.
  • Sleep management during times of stress.
  • Ways of dismantling the “overwhelmed” feeling.
  • Cognitive strategies for rethinking stressful situations.
  • ...and more.

Formats: Available in 60-, 90-, and 120-minute versions, as well as half-day and full-day participatory workshops. Shorter versions can give an entertaining and thought provoking overview, whereas longer versions can give effective concrete strategies for change. These presentations work best with visuals, so there is normally a screen with presenter’s laptop and host’s (or presenter’s) projector.