You have put together a lot of good information about your body, your history, and all the different ways and reasons you have reacted to stress. NOW WHAT?

The place to start is as always when you feel lower levels of stress at 4, 5 and 6.  At these key levels HOLDING is about recognition and usefulness of the experience.  OF COURSE I AM REACTING THIS WAY>>>> OK, now what?
By recognizing the main theme of your experience you will find the clarity to resolve the real cause or at least the immediate effect – and not get lost in the loop of thinking about it. This is self orientation so that you can move forward with proactive ways of interacting in your own experience.

It seems odd that just by recognizing the emotions, behaviors, thoughts behind the experience that you would feel better, but this actually changes your brain from reactive mode to a sense of  useful self-knowledge – HOW does this emotion make sense with my history?

Holding onto the personal meaning of stress is a gentle art of not blaming yourself or anyone else. It is like holding a small creature in your hand – this is not holding tight and not holding back.  Put both hands together out in front of yourself with your palms up.  This is how you hold your real experience of your emotions, your body, and your actions as a fact.  If there were a small bird in your hands you don’t want to jump and run or drop it or ignore it. You want to pay attention to it in the ways that make sense.

Once your experiences and ways of adapting in the past make sense you have the ability to refocus on a reaction that  ‘fits’ your current life.

EXAMPLE: Maria comes from a family who don’t talk about problems – “we just work harder”. Of course she has chronic indigestion and inflammation.

She was full of self-hatred for being a weak person at level 8-10.  Her lack of self- expression was about being defensive and quickly  burying strong emotions. Not a bad adaptation to some surroundings but she wants her home to be safe and realxing and expressive.

Her teenage children are often sarcastic and demanding:  STOP/WAIT – I know what this is… “I feel scared, I feel worried and my stomach gets tight.  OK, I have choices of what to say and do in my own home.

The tool of HOLDING is not a magical way of thinking positive thoughts. When you use the repetitive HOLDING tool you are reminding yourself of what you know to be real for you because of past experiences. Emotions are useful facts of experience not illogical or random.

STOP/WAIT – find the emotion and physical feelings – use words that are simple and fit your experience of stress at level 3-4-5: I feel tight, loose, pain, confused, upset, crazy, light, alone, etc… Use all the senses you have to be physically and emotionally aware as you see where it fits in your history.  Now what do I want for myself?

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The tools in this section are the basic ingredients of the resolution process.

How to react in new ways that build clarity and self direction in a stressful experience. Once you know that your reactions make sense with your history and you can hold the meaning of the experience, you are able to self-direct what comes next.

Complete communication with yourself is a way to create your own terms for how you live.  That is a big statement!

Having your own terms and living by them is a large part of genuine self-confidence.   Think about someone you know who has a good life.  Most likely they had a lot of choices and chances and resources or they improved their chances.

MAIN IDEA:  Communication with yourself is based on your ability to hold and affirm your feelings and experience as factual.

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DAILY CHECK IN: Current examples of stress building up to level 4 and 5 needs to be full of self communication.  Your body will tell you exactly what is happening.  The KEY HERE is to not THINK through the experience but to HAVE the experience. You are able to begin lowering stress in the current situation by recognizing that you have choices and resources to resolve it.

EXAMPLE:  IVAN had tremendous sadness and anger in trying to fix his brother’s problem.  Ivan has found ways to remind himself that he is sad and that other people don’t understand his behavior.  He has clarified that he wants and needs to continue to have some kind of relationship with his brother.

If we could hear what he says to himself now as he HOLDS that reality, it sounds like this: “I feel sad – I was the one who was responsible for him as a kid, I feel sad that things haven’t gone well for him, I am going to be sad. I want to continue to be the one who helps, I need to set up a plan, I can try to help in small ways that I can”.

The ability to be clear with self-directed behavior feels much better and he can find ways to help and even get his other brothers to do some things with him like buy a few groceries and drop them off.

Emotions are useful when we are in stress – they are the information that you need to work with opposed to avoid.

CHECK IN EXPERIMENT: The 24 hour experiment is the beginning of new self direction in reaction to level 4-5 -6 on your stress scale. Of course I feel this way… I am the one who…. Use the biographical facts of the way you feel to acknowledge and affirm and ground yourself in the reality of the emotion.

Throughout the program you have spent time rediscovering why you developed a stress reaction that had become overwhelming and out of your control.

Here is the pay off. So now it all comes together – you can actually BE IN THE MOMENT of stress and have your emotion even if it is a difficult emotion or uncomfortable.   You are slowing down and direct the process so that it doesn’t build into anxiety and fear.