Is Stress Really The Silent Killer? Marisa Peer’s Top Tips To Overcome Stress

Is Stress Really The Silent Killer? Marisa Peer’s Top Tips To Overcome Stress

Posted on November 20th 2019 by Marisa Peer

Stress is called ‘the silent killer’ because of the dangerously detrimental and damaging effect it has on our health. When you are stressed you make cortisol, which does some very interesting things in your body, including laying down fat. Cortisol will also switch off your fertility as your mind thinks that you must be in danger, which is not the right time to have a baby. Stress can also make you lose your hair, cause your skin to break out, deplete your energy levels, and lead to all kinds of disease. 

Is stress really a terrible thing…?

I'm going to tell you why stress is not a terrible thing! It's our belief about stress that is the terrible thing. We say “Stress is giving me a heart attack ...The stress is killing me…. I'm so stressed I'm going to lose my mind…”

One of the really terrible things about stress is that when you are stressed your mind empties. When you are stressed, your body pulls the blood away from your organs and from your brain, so that all the energy goes into your body ready to fight, take flight or flee. 

Let me tell you a personal story to demonstrate this in action…

Many years ago, I was living in LA, working for Jane Fonda, when I was getting some stuff out the trunk of my car. I heard a guy run up behind me and I knew he was going to mug me. It happened so fast. He knocked me over, took my handbag, took everything. It was all my workout clothes and completely worthless, but it was a big bag, so he grabbed it and ran off. 

I was in a bit of shock. Someone came over and called the police, who asked me where I lived and I couldn't remember. I had no idea what my address was and I couldn't remember my phone number. It was bizarre. 

The funny thing was that I remembered that I had two friends who lived in the penthouse of Corn Stop House. How weird is that? So the police called the Corn Stop House Penthouse, and my friends were able to tell them where I lived. 

It was the weirdest thing that my mind just went completely blank.

Have you ever had your mind go completely blank?

We have all done it. I'm rushing, rushing, rushing, and everything is going wrong. That is stress. Now we have so many things to be stressed about. Stress is not going to go away. We live in a world of stress. Instead of trying to get rid of it, it's much better to decide, "Well, I'm just going to deal with it," because it's actually unreasonable to never have stress.

There have been some studies that say monks that live on a desert island feel stressed. The people who live in isolation feel stress. If you have children, if you have a family, if you have a job, if you have a life, you are going to be stressed. 

Stress is about fight or flight, but there's another F - flow. When I can't fight or flee, I can get into flow. I can choose to go with the flow to try to override the stress response. 

You can’t get rid of stress, but you can deal with it productively.

I want you to understand that stress is not to be gotten rid of, it's to be dealt with. You can't get rid of all stress (it is actually useful feedback to tell you something is wrong and needs to change). However, you can deal with it in productive ways. Here are my top tips for stress...

1. Shoulders

One of the quickest and easiest ways to deal with stress is to push your shoulders down. You will notice that when you are stressed your shoulders rise up. By pushing them down you are signaling to your mind that you want to relax. 

2. Shaking

Another one of the best ways to reduce stress is something our bodies do naturally, which is shaking. If you have ever been nervous about something, like giving a presentation or facing a fear, you may have experienced your body shake. Actually, shaking is a great thing to do when you are stressed, as it releases tension from the body.

A couple of years ago, I was teaching RTT in London demonstrating with a girl who was nervous and my husband said, "Wow. I've never seen someone shaking that much." I told her, "I want you to shake even more than you are already shaking." Then she realized that she was in control. When you understand that you are doing it, you can stop it. 

If you've ever watched animals, when they are stressed they will shake. They shake a lot and then they feel better. If you've seen little kids, what do they do when they're upset? They fling themselves on the floor and they kick their arms and legs out and they scream, and then they get up two minutes later and they are fine. Kids have what we call a tantrum, to release stress from their bodies. It’s actually super smart. 

You don’t need to have a full blown tantrum in order to destress. Putting on your favourite music and dancing around shaking your body is also a great fun way to release stress. Don’t just take my word for it. Give it a go and notice how you feel before and afterwards.

3. Saliva

I’m sure that you have also noticed that when you are nervous your mouth goes dry. When you are relaxed your mouth is wet. On a simplistic level, the mind understands "Wet mouth = relaxed. Dry mouth = stressed." 

If you are super duper stressed and you don’t have any water, try swirling saliva around your mouth. I know that it may sound disgusting, but no one needs to know that you are doing it. Your mind will think you are relaxed and your body will respond accordingly.

Stories and Self talk

Here's another, probably the most handy hint of all, when you are stressed you have to decide to talk about it differently. Tell yourself a different story. Change perspectives.

I had a builder not long ago come to our house. Usually I notice that the builders all come round and say things like "This is a nightmare. This is a disaster." However, this builder said "Oh, this is a challenge." I knew that he had done self development work, as he had learnt to see things as a challenge that can be met. 

When you can say this is a challenge - your mind hears that that you have a situation that can be dealt with, even an opportunity. As your mind is always listening to the words and images you use, talk yourself out of stress by carefully choosing positive empowering words.

What would you have given for that problem 10 years ago?

My clients find it incredibly helpful when I ask them, "What would you have given for this challenge 10 years ago?" 

Your child is keeping you up, your partner is messy, you have too many demands for work? How much would you have loved that problem years ago - to have kids, a partner, and demand for your work? Whatever problem is stressing you out, could be someone else's fantasy dream come true. Someone else may be longing for a baby or a partner or to feel that their work is in demand.

It’s only a problem if you make it a problem.

You have a brilliant brain and you always have a choice. You cannot control outside events, but you can decide how you want to feel about something. You can choose how to respond.

If you don’t want to be stressed, do not let negative, destructive criticism and thoughts in, because that will guarantee to make you stressed and eventually depressed. However, you don’t have to let it. The empowering truth is that you always have a choice.

A practical exercise you can do to empower your perspective is to consider the 3Ps.

For something to really stress you, it has to be what I call a PPP Problem:

  1. It must be permanent. It never goes away.

  2. It must be all pervasive, going on all the time, constantly every minute of every day.

  3. Finally, it must be personal

Stress can't get you if isn't permanent, all pervasive and deeply personal, so asking yourself these questions gives you a new empowering perspective.

The best thing you can do to be happy is to like yourself.  Learn to Love yourself. Do not worry about what people are thinking about you and saying about you and feeling about you. Because as long as you feel good about you, you are going to be okay.

Senses & breathing

Another good way to relax your body and mind is to reconnect with your senses - what you can hear, taste, touch, smell and feel. You can also reconnect with your breath and do deep belly breaths to calm your nervous system... 

If you put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, feel which hand rises more as you breathe? To relax your body and mind, try concentrating on breathing from your belly. You can imagine the bellows of taking in breath to a count of four, holding it, releasing to a count of eight.

In summary, stress itself is not a silent killer, it’s the way you react to stress that matters.

The way you talk about stress and what you believe about stress is what affects you. Here are some key things to remember... 

Remember the S's of stresses: shoulders, shaking and saliva. Remember PPP Problems: if it isn't permanent, all pervasive, and personal, it can be dealt with and will go away one day. Remember you have a choice, talk yourself out of it. Stop saying: "It's killing me, it's driving me crazy. I could die!” Instead see it as a challenge. Your subconscious is always switched on, it records everything you say. You have a choice on how you want to feel, how you respond and what you choose to tell yourself. The words you use will either minimise or maximise stress, which do you prefer?

This article on Stress Management has more information and practical techniques, plus you can find out more on How To Be Healthy with this free guide on what we eat, think and do. 

If you would like to experience the power of Rapid Transformational Therapy for yourself you can sign up for this free mini-masterclass to boost your confidence and know that you are enough - always have been and always will be.