Stress is defined as “a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension…..resulting from factors that tend to alter an existing equilibrium.” In other words to disturb a person’s balance, mental and/or physical.

According to Dr Joe Dispenza “Living in Stress is living in survival rather than creation and you are heading for illness and disease. Most illness is caused by lifestyle and by choices.”

In the Martial Arts a person, no matter how strong, is taken off balance by being extended away from their centre where they are on balance.

So stress is our mind and body reaction to being disturbed in some way and knocked off balance or out of homeostasis.

There are physical effects to stress:

  • The sympathetic nervous system is aroused so that the body is ready for fight or flight” reaction
  • The heart rate increases
  • Increased perspiration
  • Blood vessels constrict and cause a reduction of blood flow to the periphery or outer areas of the body and redirect blood to the muscles, lungs and heart.

Doctors and Psychologists have found that stress is one of the main causes of mental and physical illness.

Stress is usually contrasted with:


It has been proved scientifically on many occasions that our brains work and learn best when we are calm and in a relaxed state of mind.

There are physical effects associated with relaxation

  • Activity within the parasympathetic nervous system, which puts the body into ease and rest
  • Heart rate slows
  • Blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow
  • Experience of emotions such as contentment, inner peace and confidence

Recent research has shown that stress affects our health as well as our ability to learn and perform.

Illnesses of the cardiovascular system such as hypertension, heart disease, strokes etc, have been strongly linked to chronic stress and the emotions which cause stress.

Our emotions or how we feel can create both positive and negative effects on our immune system through their influence on the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system.

This can be shown as a five step process:

  • Stressful event
  • Autonomic nervous system reaction
  • Biochemical and physiological changes
  • Immune system reaction
  • Health consequences

Managing Stress

Stress is a natural by-product of change and learning. The issue is not so much about avoiding stressful situations but rather how we cope effectively with stress. We cannot choose what goes on around us but we can choose how we respond to situations and how we feel.

How we think effects how we feel

Practise these simple techniques:

  • Every memory is an anchor and brings with it a particular state, so make sure the memory you choose and the state it comes with is a state that is useful to you and helps you achieve your outcome, e.g. wanting to feel relaxed
  • So as you think about this memory the state is already there and you are already entering the feeling of relaxation. Step into this memory as if you are there now
  • Where are you? Take a look around. What do you see? Notice the colours. Are there other people around?
  • Are there any sounds? If so what are you hearing? For instance if you are on a beach you might hear the sound of water or the wind and maybe a Gull.
  • Are there any smells and tastes? Once again on a beach you may well taste and smell the salt air and all of these will help to keep you in that time, that memory, as if you are there now.
  • Experience now this feeling of relaxation

You can also hold or Anchor this feeling and get it back at any time.

When you are in the memory and you are sure you are re-experiencing the feeling of relaxation, squeeze one of your knuckles or touch a part of your body like a knuckle or hold a finger and thumb together for as long as you are experiencing the feeling. Remove the Anchor (touch) before the feeling fades.

You can get this feeling back by “firing” the Anchor. Just squeeze the knuckle or hold your finger and thumb together depending on where you placed the Anchor and this will stimulate the same response, i.e. the positive feeling of relaxation. It is advisable to “top up” your Anchors on a regular basis as they can fade over time. Use them or lose them. Every time you have a good feeling you can anchor it and build yourself a library of positive and useful feelings.

Whenever you notice the signals from your body that let you know you are experiencing stress, you can easily and immediately use the technique of anchoring to manage how you feel and access positive states or feelings. Simply by pressing and holding your “Anchor spot” you can get back that feeling of relaxation, confidence, calmness or whatever you have set up.

Any one who would like to have some coaching to help you manage your emotions, your state, how you feel, then please check out my book “Mutual Mindfulness” and/or my website where you can arrange a free 20 minute chat or session: