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Creating your personal stress scale is the beginning of TRAINING in real time by measuring the stress that has built up over the past 4- 5 hours of the day.  A chronic stress build up of weeks, months, years can 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 in the day that become a STOP sign so that you can step into the experience of stress to make changes.

In the training program read about the stress scale and then 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. Some people don’t feel that they ever have zeros but these may only be a few minutes but a zero is in your day somewhere.

We do not work with reactions at level 8- 10. These strong reactions are biologically dominate and have very little room for using any  behavioral prevention techniques as they are happening. High levels of anxiety in this range call for physical treatment or recovery.  Like sleeping to recover from exhaustion it takes time for a biologically dominant reaction to subside.

By using the training you will be able to step into stress experiences at level 4 – 7 to work with stress and make use of the experience. When you complete the training you will feel more confident and efficient with resolution when stress reaches these levels.

If you feel overwhelmed just by looking at the scale – start at level 6 (Overwhelmed) and work your way down, then choose another category.   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 easily 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.

EXAMPLE:  TRACKING STRESS DOWN THE 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 eating with whatever is leftover 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” of himself and most other people in his current life think he is an OK guy.

BECOME AN EXPERT: 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 to you ( physical, social, emotional, behavior, and thoughts), when stress builds.

THE APP – You can only start using the app after building your stress scale on paper. You will add to the stress scale details as you check in with yourself 4 times a day. You are not just tracing stress – but all of your experiences at lower levels as well so that these are recognized and repeatable.

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE – This product is intended for people who are impacted by daily or chronic stress and anxiety. Disclaimer: The information in this product is for personal educational purposes only. It is not intended for use in the diagnoses of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, treatment or prevention of disease, except when recommended or assigned by a medical professional. It is not intended to provide medical advice or medical care and should not replace discussions with your healthcare professional.

PRIVACY POLICY All data entered into the training program PDF will be automatically deleted when you close the program. Please print out the worksheets and do these by hand. All data stored on the app is self-contained and does not get stored in a third party location. The creators and developers of this product do not collect or store user information unless you have volunteered and signed a consent form for a research project. For research participants, data is collected, aggregated and de-identified (not personally identifiable) to help us improve, develop, evaluate and continue products, services, materials and programs related to our products and specific conditions.

 

Day 1  and 2 are an education in your Personal Biology- The Experience of your embodied self is full of useful cues for detecting stress. 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 chronic Stress ( the loop of levels  4-5-6-) or anxiety (levels 7 – 10) is to know that we can resolve it.  Your body is reacting to levels of hormones sent out by your brain to try to cope with stress.

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 is causing stress, let alone what to do to resolve it.   You are simply used to. This is adaptive behavior, which can be good until it is too strong like the boiling frog seconds before the end. Frogs live in warm water that often gets hot.

Finding a way to be more sensitive to smaller changes is a preventive tool.  With training you will become more sensitive at level 4 and able to predict and prevent the usual stress/ anxiety process.

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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. The example below is a bad day of frustration building into level 6.

Morning:  Level 4   feel tired, rushed, skipped the shower, no food, and no gym.

Mid Day: Level 5  Hurry through work, no lunch,  shoulder hurts, angry at partner.

Afternoon: Level 6.  Hungry, unhappy and overwhelmed, called/ texted/ messaged too many people. Cortisol levels have risen and if you continue this pattern you could end up with a panic attack or a few days of feeling depressed.

Before Bed: Level 3, Worried, can’t relax, feel alone.  Negative thinking, feel like a failure but want to keep trying.

These cues can create clarity if you get serious about how to resolve the current experience  in each check in- the first tool is to step into the experience create simple quick resolutions: GET PHYSICAL…hot shower, eat food, music,  no alcohol, wash face, know you will keep trying.

Identifying  Biology on the Stress Scale: Hunger signal – Behavioral decisions based on lack of motivation and energy.

CHECK IN = STOP/WAIT get physical and go for practical simple solutions like drinking water, stretching, water on your face, going to sleep, eating something normal to eat.

 

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

IMPORTANT NOTICE – This product is intended for people who are impacted by daily or chronic stress and anxiety. Disclaimer: The information in this product is for personal educational purposes only. It is not intended for use in the diagnoses of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, treatment or prevention of disease, except when recommended or assigned by a medical professional. It is not intended to provide medical advice or medical care and should not replace discussions with your healthcare professional.

PRIVACY POLICY All data entered into the training program PDF will be automatically deleted when you close the program. Please print out the worksheets and do these by hand. All data stored on the app is self-contained and does not get stored in a third party location. The creators and developers of this product do not collect or store user information unless you have volunteered and signed a consent form for a research project. For research participants, data is collected, aggregated and de-identified (not personally identifiable) to help us improve, develop, evaluate and continue products, services, materials and programs related to our products and specific conditions.

 

Mastering PART 2 of the APP is now your next goal.

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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 get familiar with their stress responses: “Oh, this makes sense… of course I react this way”.

Take your time and create 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!

The Biography 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, “Why I feel this way.”

 

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