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THIS IS first tool for TRAINING in real time by measuring the stress that has built up over the past 4- 5 hours of the day.  The chronic stress build up of weeks, months, years and may be the cause of very specific personal reactions and patterns of behavior.  This self-measure will help you find the markers for stress and anxiety that are unique to you.

In the Training Program read through all the categories of stress reactions:  Physical, Emotional, Social, Behavioral and Thoughts.  The list of example keywords are supplied for you to use until you have a better personal vocabulary from your own experience over the next few days.

Fill in the scale from highest levels to lower levels. You can get cued into stress by just writing the words and descriptions.  Yes, your brain is that sensitive for good reasons! The brain is identifying ” Useful” experiences to log in for potential later use. So – work your way down to zero… when Life is Good. This may be a few minutes but a zero is in your day somewhere.

We do not reactions at level 8- 10. These strong reactions are biologically driven and have very little room for using any  behavioral prevention. High levels call for physical treatment or recovery.  Like sleeping to recover from exhaustion it takes time for a biologically dominant reaction to subside.

You will be able to step into stress experiences at level 4 – 7 to work with stress and make use of the experience.

If you feel overwhelmed by looking at the scale – start at level 6 (Overwhelmed) and work your way down, then choose another category.  You can fill in Level 7 later as it feels more accessible. Be sure to add in behaviors such as the use of food, alcohol or other substances if these are part of checking out or numbing out.

The lower levels, 3-0 are the normal stresses of everyday concerns.   At these levels you feel capable of dealing with these and can be a little worried and figure out the solutions.

REMEMBER: If you are tracking chronic stress and specific medical symptoms be sure to put these on the list and use as one of your key measures on your stress scale.

Jamie is usually very outgoing. He has a lot of anger at level 7 and “goes mute” every afternoon about 5:00 PM. His colleagues would tell you they can set their clocks by this guy. In fact, they have placed bets on his ” shut down” time!

He knows that biggest stress behavior is picking at himself and snacking.  At level 7 his cuticles are a “bloody mess”, at a level 4 he starts picking at them and cursing to himself.After lunch he just keeps going with whatever is in the office break room.

He is ” fuming” and overwhelmed at level 6 by around 2:00 PM and isn’t aware that he is eating   It all begins with a sense of failure when he can’t resolve something and doesn’t want to ask get other people to help.  Jamie was brought up to ” Go it Alone”. That will be obvious in Day 3 when he puts together his biography page and sees the theme throughout his adolescent years.

He can feel the frustration at level 4 – Failure was a big part of his teen years at a new school in a new town.  He now knows that he is the “number one critic” and not most other people in his current life.

You will use the stress scale throughout the process of your day to find the patterns of stress that you already know but now need to become the expert in what happens when stress builds.


START USING YOUR STRESS SCALE NOW.  Use the stress cue at level 4 that you have written on the scale. What behavior or physical cue can you grab?   This is a powerful new early warning signal that you can turn into self-knowledge.


Day 1  and 2 are a full out education in Biology- The Experience of your physical self!

Life is wonderful without stress… Your body is comfortable and flexible, behaviors are productive and self-directed, thoughts are relevant and emotions feel light and natural at levels 0 – 2.

All we want when we experience anxiety is to know that we can resolve it. You have started to use this program because you are  “in stress mode” too often, which means that your body is also reacting to levels of hormones sent out by your brain to try to cope with stress. Stimulant hormones are fun up to level 4.

You may have experienced unresolved stress for so long that you are adapted to coping in certain ways with specific behaviors.  You may not even know what your stress is about most of the time, let alone what to do to resolve it.   You are simply used to.

Finding a way to feel more in charge would help. Stress is linked to very individual experiences of meaning.

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As a child, teen and adult your brain is collecting experience of ‘me’ every day. Just like your body grows in size, so does your brain. Physical growth happens up to age 21 and the brain continues to change even after this. Just like your skin forming freckles or a scar, your brain is reacting and changing according to the environment.

Even small stresses – the positive kind – have a physical response – that tingle of excitement down your spine when you are getting ready for a party or, hear your favorite song, the small increase in appetite when you finish exercise.


Stress is personal and quirky – You have different reactions than I do but the stress scale is designed to match the hormonal mix at each level and your very individual reactions.   It is happening anyway so you might as well become the expert on yourself and step in to work with it.

Check ins are the way to do this so that you can get actively involved in dealing with what is happening.


Morning:  Level 4  You have bitten a fingernail, eaten six  big cookies, decided not to go to the gym,  get on line for 3 hours to surf for a new job.

Mid Day: Level 5 and then go for lunch with people you really like, stay too long and drink too much and sleep most of the afternoon,.

Afternoon: level 6.  You have called/ texted/ messaged too many people, decided to call it quits with whatever you really thought you wanted in life.  Cortisol levels have risen and if you continue this patterns you could end up with a panic attack or a few days of constant worry or even depression.

Before Bed: level 7  At this point fear and anger begin, add in resentment, feeling like you wasted the day, failure, guilt and it can add up fast. But these emotions can create clarity if you get serious with the check quiet,

STOP/ WAIT and ACCEPT that you are having a bad time.  I am angry, afraid, anxious and feel bad….Now you can shift to  WHY?

At this point forget Biography and jump to the question, What do I need to do for myself?

You can do the biography tomorrow. It is the end of this really bad day. Over!

GET PHYSICAL.   WHAT CAN I TRY.. make the list…hot shower, bath, music, favorite movie or book, herbal tea, wash face, brush teeth… take care of me.  Worry, stress, fear Not Now, tomorrow.

At higher levels shift into physical responses and stimulant hormones will come down.

Identifying  Biology on the Stress Scale

Hunger hormone signal – Fidgeting behavior- level 4

Behavioral decision based on  lack of motivation and energy level 5

Proactive behavior will result in good enough resolution to get you down from – level 5

If you get confused, exhausted or overwhelmed welcome to level 6. Please STOP?WAIT get physical and go for practical simple solutions like drinking water, stretching, water on your face, going to sleep, eating something normal for protein,

STOP WAIT AT LEVEL 4 – use the app – track and find out what is behind the behavior!

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At least I can track this and put in a stop sign

My Social-Emotional History

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The illustration is this person moving forward into the past with this backpack of experiences and memories.  Stop/Wait, I am reacting to something and the original cue and reason for my reaction is in the backpack somewhere!

People and their brain actually do well with one time BIG  stressors if they know what it is and it makes sense.  MAKING SENSE OF YOUR REACTIONS with your individual history is a key to less intense stress. Our bodies and emotions  provide direct cues for why we are reacting.

EXAMPLE:  James often runs in and out of burning buildings. Last week he tripped over a hose.  Most people would be very scared, but since James is adapted to this type of experience he react by being angry and then telling his team captain.   because it all makes sense with his daily life in the past 5 years his reaction doesn’t last long.

So let’s unpack your backpack spread it around and find out where your reactions come from and get the story together.  If you have had very strong negative or dangerous experiences in your past just make a few notes with few words on the timeline.  This outline is not a way to re-experience the worst times in your life but to see what your brain is using as self-referencing.

You only do this once in the program.  After writing out part two, many people begin to relax, “Oh, this makes sense… of course I react this way”.

Take your time and get a good outline:

SELF AWARENESS + SELF KNOWLEDGE + SELF DIRECTION.  Your current reactions to stress make sense because of past experiences. These experiences have meaning – that is why they stuck in your brain.

EXAMPLE:  Maria  adapted to stress by trying to shut down her real emotions.   She has stomach aches and shyness from an early age. It is easier for her to be alone but she “forces” herself to eat and drink and be social all the time and the result is reflux heartburn and recently IBS and migraines.

Maria has dealt with a theme of not being good enough for a long time. So she avoids any conversations and has  a fear of it becoming a disappointment to others.  Maria grew up as an only child. Both parents are scientists who had lively discussions at dinner every night about scientific topics. Maria was too young to participate.  Having little to contribute to the conversation, she assumed that her daily issues were not important.  So she felt like as weak and not so smart.  In High school and college May worked very hard to get good grades. She didn’t have many experiences of being involved with people in ways that were relaxing or fun.

In college Maria started experiencing problems with her digestion and was diagnosed with IBS.   While she was sitting in the library her head began to feel like it was going to crack and her vision got blurred. A panic attack as happening.

In the ER the doctor explained that the medication was a temporary fix and that this kind of recurring panic could continue to recur if she did not add relaxation to her life.

Maria lives in chronic stress levels 5 and 6. She lives in fear of not measuring up to a high standard.  She has become more aware of her body cues at levels 3-4

CHECK IN:  Of course I am reacting this way… brunch with friends all talking about performing and achieving… My usual theme. OK this started way back at home around the dinner table when I was 6 yrs old. Of course I

The Day 6 worksheet is a game changer.  You will see how small stresses in your everyday experience of being a child and teen add up over time.  Your ADAPTIVE behavior is a positive aspect of how you were able to cope with the stress of these years.

EXPERIMENT:   Look for a theme running through this page.  Highlight the same cues as you review it from your current age to childhood and back to the current time.    You will see that you are very familiar with the cues for stress and find out the answer to one of the key questions:   what is making me feel this way?”


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