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How To Successfully Deal With Stress

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Many of you have normalized stress so much so that you tell yourself that there’s nothing you can do about it other than to exercise. Why exercise is great there are other ways to manage it. That is why I brought on today’s guest Jessica Patching Bunch (JPB) is here to talk about practical ways to deal with stress and she really delivers some amazing those golden nuggets! 


JPB is a stress resilience coach on a mission to change the way we understand and approach mental health by providing practical approaches to understanding and managing stress. Struggling with stress-related illness most of her life she set out to address a real gap in accessible, alternative mind care and wellness education. Translation: she teaches practical ways to manage stress so you can get out of your own way, stress less, and live more!!

What got you on this topic of talking about stress as a coach?
In my 20s I had multiple doctors’ visits for things and they would just say it was from stress, and I should stress less.  I left angry wondering how the hell could I do that?

Doctor’s telling women to stress less isn’t helpful because seriously.. What does that even look like??

At the time, Jessica was working 2 jobs going to school, her life was stressful.  It was not a possibility for her, and she assumed that this was how it would be.

Fast forward, she had an interest in psychology and this was where she started with human behavior, why we do what we do, why we think things are okay, and what makes us tick.

The underlying mechanisms of why we do things and human behavior were so interesting was so interesting to her.

So, I started looking through scientific articles that I had access to at work. What is stress?  What is the stress cycle? What is this in the body? Really getting into the physiology of it and it clicked and made sense to me. What I really wanted was to share this information with people who could use it instead of being in a lab.  It’s useful information that everyone can use to help us navigate a little better in life. We are humans and stress is a part of that!

JCB wanted to be able to help people who heard, “Oh it is just stress.” What they could do! Everything is stressful….  We’ve been taught that doctors know more than us, they write us a prescription and we are like ok thanks! We think we cannot question things or have autonomy over ourselves.  This power structure says the doctor knows more than you and has more power and doesn’t question it. They don’t know your body; they don’t know your life. They went to school to take an educated guess as to what is going on with you.  You are your own experience. We are not the same as other patients. We DO have autonomy. Wellness takes our own participation. How we live, how we feed ourselves, our environment and our experiences create our health and stress levels.

First thing, we need to know a little bit more about how we work and understand the basics. Your nervous system controls everything, if it doesn’t feel safe it shuts down a lot of other systems. Flight or fight.  This affects the brain, digestion, breath, menstrual cycle, muscles, and every other system of our body is dependent on this.  When we look at what stress looks like, we have to open our perspective on that because it looks different for each person and isn’t one particular thing. And it can be throughout your body.

If I went to the doctor today and they said it was stress, I would say ok let’s check in with my breathing.  The breath is the link between your brain and body; it influences so much of the function of our other systems.  It can change the physiology and help to calm the mind, that’s why it’s so important.

The second thing would be the basics. After breathing check, the basics. Are you sleeping? – Lack of sleep is detrimental to brain function. Nutrition? – I am not talking about any specific diet for weight loss. Feed your body proteins, carbs and fats. Your brain is made of fats, runs on carbs, it makes proteins. You need all of those things. And eat your vegetables to support your nervous system.  For function, you are stressed out if your body and brain don’t get what it needs to work.

Movement? – Not one specific thing for weight loss, but our body functions better when we move. Our brains grew when we started moving more. Movement is such an incredible stress reducer.
Time, silence, and self-compassion. – We don’t need more; we need to take things away!

We need to press pause. We are always going and going, and we don’t know how to just breathe and pause.  And so sometimes your body needs a break and that doesn’t mean you sit around on the couch and don’t do anything. And then you’re like, “Ooh, I’m such a loser.” Go for a walk, it doesn’t have to be a power walk. Take some time to just be where your feet are. You are still moving.

For many of us who are high achievers, we are killing ourselves and holding ourselves accountable to have this unknown judge in our mind that we are never going to meet the expectations that the invisible judge sets on us.  We have these strong internal critics, especially women. We try to do everything by ourselves.  We forget we have a community for support, and we think if we don’t do it all alone there is something wrong with us.  We need to smash that because that perpetuates your stress.  We have to take care of ourselves and saying I need help, or I can’t do this right now comes back to that expectation that we are supposed to do everything all the time.

Busy…. Is that what it looks like to so many of us? So much comparison, a lot of our stress comes from social comparison. They can do all this, etc.  You don’t have the same life which means you won’t have the same experiences and the same time, energy or focus to do that.  Are these goals even yours or are they borrowed? Or are you doing it because you THINK you should? We each have this current time to live.  We are in this moment, life is short, so make it yours.

When you are trying to keep busy and compare with all these things you think you should be doing, ask yourself if this is what you really want. Is this for me?  What are you doing in your day? Is there something you can say NO to? Can you squeeze the grocery shopping in between this or that, can someone else, do it?

Our nervous system is always seeking safety. Being able to predict what is going to happen in a routine is part of that and it’s a huge lower to our stress.  But what I see happening with routines is they get really rigid, and I have to do this exactly the same.  You are not a robot.  Things can look different on the day based on how I am feeling, what I am needing, and how much energy I have to focus on this one day and it has to be flexible.

So many people get caught up in THESE ARE THE RULES and if it doesn’t look like this, I can’t do it. You need to do it bare bones.  Who makes those rules?  Your routine has to stay flexible or it’s never going to be sustainable.  Consistency is doing something over time that looks similar, it’s not doing the SAME thing every day. Who makes those rules?

You can change those rules. You can change your mind at any moment to make this better.  If you just have 2 or 3 minutes, it is enough time to make a difference. Use the time you have.  Use WHAT you have!

Most people when they think of routine, it’s rinse and repeat VS I do this for 30 minutes, but I only have 5 minutes, so I will do it for 5 minutes and BE OKAY with doing it for 5 minutes.  We expect ourselves to do the same thing over and over again day in and day out in the same pattern and rhythm. And for many people, this is stressful if they can’t do it.  But we have LIFE! Some days don’t work. You have to roll with it.  We can’t try and control every little piece of everything.

We are of nature, and we are constantly changing.  So, thinking we are constant every day is just not sustainable.  It’s not realistic. Keep in mind that we are constantly changing. The energy you have, the time you have, life happens. We have to be able to work with it and not against it.  We are trying to fight against things we wish were a different way or control everything.  The only things we can control are the things that we do. Our effort, how we choose to show up, how we choose to look at something.  That takes training and patience and self-compassion.

For those who are listening to those who say they can’t keep up with this pace or don’t want to keep up with it, Jessica can help you break free of just stop being stressed.  It’s so important to talk about these things.  There’s this idea that if we can’t handle this there is something wrong with me and that is not the case.  If we talk about this, we are opening up the idea for you guys that you are not alone this is not a “you” issue!  This is something we all struggle with.  Then we can start to address it and normalize different things instead of not sleeping etc.  Normalize sleeping, normalize resting, and take care of yourself first so you have the capacity to care for others! If you have 2 minutes to breathe and take care of yourself, do it.  Show up for yourself today and normalize that!

Taking care of yourself and showing up for yourself doesn’t always mean you’re adding something. Maybe it is just subtracting something from the list!

Your brain, body, and nervous system have patterns. And what is familiar feels safe, because it’s predictable, because it’s what it knows how to do. That doesn’t mean it’s what’s the best thing for you. It just means what you’ve been doing. And so, if the pattern that you build is to be stressed out, to be overworking yourself and saying yes to everything, start by saying no. And taking rest is going to feel scary. It’s going to feel unsafe for your nervous system. That doesn’t mean that it’s actually dangerous. It means that it’s new. And what’s new is unpredictable. And so I think that that is a huge part of all of this!.

My goal after every podcast is for you to have one little nugget and take action from that one little nugget. What was it for you?

What is one thing that makes you feel magical?
Nature. Being out in nature is a little piece of magic for me.


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Learn more about Jessica (JPB): http://www.brain-bodyresilience.com/quick-links — Brain-Body Resilience


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