Welcome to Episode 53 of my podcast, The Executive Edge.

I am primarily an expert in Stress and have supported Executives both as a professional speaker, and 1:1 adviser, for 30 years.

On this week’s show I talk about this subject because I get asked to present on it a lot, and it’s an essential life skill. Most of us don’t get the chance to stop and work out whether we handle stress well, let alone feel we have developed it into a skill. It might be because it’s usually upon us before we spot it, or maybe in a positive way, we are coping pretty well. Maybe, we don’t notice until it’s quite extreme.

What is stress?

To begin with, we need to define what stress is. Although there is a lot of material out there, I just want to take a few seconds to position that. All of us know about fight or flight, I’m sure. This is how you react when your brain perceives a threat and adrenaline is poured into the system. It is a simple, primitive process designed for when we were exposed to infrequent and significant threat. Now, we are becoming aware that our own thoughts have the capacity to trigger this. So, there is the potential for far more stress even when you are not being hunted like primitive man, or truly in peril.

So why does stress happen?

All of us experience stress and this is normal. It’s not the fact that it happens which is the issue, it is the degree and frequency which might be the problem.

A source of stress is by definition outside of you, or external to you. That means it is the situation, a person, or an event that you are in at the time. Sources of stress are many and varied and they include a computer that won’t behave, noise, traffic, or a boss who is a problem for you. They also include friends who have upset you, and it runs the whole gamut right as far as Christmas!

Sources of stress need practical solutions on the whole. The deeper issue are the causes of stress. And that is because everything that we do in life is filtered through our own thoughts and then feelings before we act. The management of causes of stress need different techniques, and you’ll hear some tips on the podcast.

Getting the help you need to manage stress

On the show I cover a range of practical tips. Although there are masses of recommendations about stress, mine are honed from years of personal use, and recommended to many of my clients. I have 16 suggestions that fit under four headings.

The headings are mental, emotional, physical, and self. MEPS for short

These tips include taking a probiotic to alter gut bacteria so that you make more serotonin, the feel-good hormone. I take ‘Activated You’ but this comes from the US and is frustrating to order as it takes about 3 weeks to arrive (https://activatedyou.com/). I have often taken Symprove which is a liquid, and you take it daily for around 3 months to re-populate the gut. You can get it here: www.symprove.com

I also recommend Magnesium as this is easily obtainable in Epsom salts which you put in the bath. It soothes tired muscles and improves sleep patterns. You can read more about them here. They are particularly good for insomnia but if you don’t like baths, taking a magnesium supplement can help too.

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