Posted on Jun 4th, 2006

3 Key Distinctions

Fight or Flight - The fight or flight response is hard-wired into our nervous system. A long time ago, when the lion jumped out of the bushes, we had a choice: fight the lion or run for all your worth (and then change your loincloth). Today, when the idiot driver cuts us off or the boss yells at you, we have the same reaction, fight or flee. These days we fight by yelling and screaming, or we flee into TV, over-work, addictions, and other forms of “psychic numbness.”

Stress or Distress - Bad events can be stressful. Duh. Did you know that good events can be stressful as well? Graduating, marriage, having kids, moving, promotions, while potentially good things, can still be a source of stress.

Stress or Pressure - Stress comes from the outside, such as a deadline or expectation. Pressure is an inside job. Pressure is what we tell ourselves about the stress.


“How am I ever going to get all this done?”

“I’ll never make that deadline!”

"Pressure is to stress as humidity is to heat: it just makes it worse."

3 Response Options

Responding to stress is like being in the waves at the beach. You can:

Let It Knock You Down - Take the “dead roach approach” - just let stress have it’s way with you.

Survive It - Get by, get through, get it over with. Sounds good, but think about it. How excited would you be to get up each day saying, “Alright, I get to go survive today!”

Ride & Thrive - Discover and use creative tools to make the stress in your life work for you instead of against you.

4 Ways to Ride & Thrive

1. The Powerful Art of Reframing - Reframing is a tool that can alter the pressure we put on ourselves. It means exactly what it sounds like - to put a different frame on a situation. Have you noticed how different a painting can look when you change the frame around it? The wrong frame can ruin a painting, while the proper frame can please the eye and reveal details not otherwise seen.

EX: Instead of “I’m never going to get all this done” how about “In how many ways can I get all this done and more, and enjoy the process?” While some people will say this is just semantics, I say it’s really using the power of words and focus to change your life!

2. The Lost Art of Human Hibernation - What with email, faxes, cell phones and beepers, we’ve made ourselves always available and therefore always “on.” When animals don’t hibernate, they become anxious, overly aggressive and sluggish. Sound like any one you know?

EX: Whether it’s five minutes of total quiet with no distractions or a 3 day personal retreat, regularly refresh your self with some “human hibernation.”

3. The Never Ending Search for Humor - When we brought our son home, I thought “I’m supposed to take care of this little creature and I can’t even remember to take out my contacts at night!” During one of the first diaper changes, he did what little boys do and aimed it right at Lauren. She put up the palm of her hand to block it and then started pushing back the stream like Superman and the death-ray. We laughed so hard we cried, and decided we might be able to do this after all.

EX: Look for the humor, no matter how absurd, in any stressful situation. Remember, if you can laugh about it, you can survive it, and even thrive it!

4. The Incredible Power of Action - All of the above is merely mildly amusing information if you don’t use it.

EX: Use just one of these stress busters today. Or if you really want to get wild and crazy, use all ten!

Visit for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

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