Stress ? Relax and disconnect with the techniques of Paul McKenna

Relieve your stress (Image: Getty)

The body’s stress response mechanism works like a car alarm. If a threat is detected – be it the pandemic, the situation in Ukraine or something closer to home – the internal alarm system lets us know something is wrong by creating a change in body chemistry , producing adrenaline and cortisol.

We feel alert and receive a surge of fear or anger. However, the stress response is not only triggered when there is a physical threat, but also a threat to our ego. So if there’s any chance that we look bad – say while giving a presentation – then the stress response is triggered. These things may not seem like real threats, but your nervous system can’t tell the difference between a physical threat and an imagined threat. a.

When we remember something or imagine something, we create movies in our mind – often with a soundtrack – so simply put, it’s the internal images and sounds that create our moment-to-moment feelings.

Unfortunately, far too many people spend too much of their lives spinning negative movies in their minds to motivate themselves – constantly walking away from fear rather than happiness isn’t a very pleasant way to live life.

Psychologists call it “catastrophizing” the act of thinking about all the worst things that could happen – preparing for emergencies that will never happen and getting upset about imaginary threats, instead of focusing on when and how. reality.

Not only is it exhausting, but it does not allow us to be creative, optimistic and happy. If you are in a state of stress, you are looking for threats everywhere.


It is not just what we think about, but how we think about it that is important. In school, we are often taught what to think, but we are not taught how to think. So, here is our first experience:

1 Make yourself comfortable and remember a time when you felt great. Come back to that memory as if you were back there now. See what you saw…listen to what you heard…and feel how good you felt. Make colors rich, bright and bold… sounds strong and feelings strong. You should feel really good right now.

2 Next, I’d like you to think of a slightly uncomfortable memory – perhaps a time when you had a fight, or you felt disappointed or upset. And when you think about that moment now… I would like you to come out of memory, come out of yourself and look at yourself as if the event was happening to someone else.

Next, dump all the color out of that event and make it black and white, then gently fade it out. Right now, you should feel a lot less upset.

3 What we learn here is a very important principle. Each time we are inside a memory, it has a much greater emotional intensity than when we are outside of it. So, in simple terms, one of the processes that we do during this system is to go into the good times and out of the bad times.

The stress is not triggered there is a threat…

This will recode the general landscape of our thinking to make us more optimistic and free from any uncomfortable past experiences. . Working with people such as soldiers and paramedics who have gone through extremely traumatic experiences, some are functional and some are not. Those that were functional are those that have coded their experiences in a way that means they are not in a permanent state of upheaval. They can remember that something terrible happened and retain the lessons they needed. These are emotional too

Many of us have a negative internal voice – spreading self-destructive messages that hold us back. From looking in the mirror and hearing the dialogue of “your butt looks big in there”, to the inner voice of “I can’t”, it’s time to stop this bad negative talk and it is a key part of learning the power of inner positivity.

However, it’s not just what you say to yourself, it’s also how you say it.

I would like you to think about how the world sounds when you are stressed. What does your internal dialogue look like? Is he worried or anxious? Are you talking calmly to yourself? Or do you look scared or worried?

I would like you to tap into your inner voice, so let’s try another thought experiment.

ONE: I would now like you to speak to yourself in your mind in a very gentle and calm way. With your internal dialogue, I’d like you to use the same tone of voice you would use when telling a bedtime story.

TWO: And say something really soothing like, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” And notice how you feel. So, in addition to what we say to ourselves in our minds throughout the day, how we say it is very important.

PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION ONCE you learn to put yourself in a state of deep relaxation at will, you have real power.

Thus, by practicing this technique several times, you will master an important part of yourself and your life. Follow these eight simple steps:

Close your eyes and imagine a different “you”, twice as relaxed as you are now.

1 2 Imagine floating above and into this more relaxed you. See through the eyes of your more relaxed self, hear through the ears of your more relaxed self, and feel that deeper relaxation.

Next, imagine another you, who is twice as relaxed as you are right now.

3 4 Imagine floating above and into this more relaxed you. See through the eyes of your more relaxed self, hear through the ears of your more relaxed self, and feel that deeper relaxation.

5 From this place, imagine another you, who is even more relaxed than you are right now.

6 Imagine floating above and into this even more relaxed you. See through the eyes of your more relaxed self, hear through the ears of your more relaxed self, and feel that deeper relaxation.

7 Pause briefly while you notice the feelings, then repeat if desired. Continue to imagine yourself more relaxed and float in it until you are totally relaxed.

8 Stay with this feeling as long as you want. You can return to awake, refreshed and alert full consciousness when you are ready.

THE APEX TECHNIQUE THIS technique is inspired by the work of my friend, the brilliant Zen Master Genpo Roshi.

1 Place your hands in front of you, palms facing up.

2 Next, focus on whatever feeling is bothering you. It can be fear, anger or something else.

3 As you notice it, ask if there is anything that feeling would mean to you. If there is, write it down – if there isn’t, that’s fine too.

4 Imagine that you are holding the sensation in your left hand, in front of you and trying to get in touch with it.

5 Now think about the opposite of this feeling – eg peace, calm, comfort.

6 Bring that opposite feeling to mind – peace, calm, comfort – and write down how you feel.

7 Imagine placing this opposite, positive feeling in your right hand.

8. Move your attention to a few centimeters above your head and hold your attention in this position to feel both sensations at the same time.

9 Continue to feel both emotions simultaneously with your attention above your head. As you do this, your emotional system should recalibrate so that you can feel that difficult emotion on a lower level as it reintegrates into your emotional intelligence. You should now feel much calmer and less stressed, with more emotional balance when thinking about difficult things.


Studies have shown that when we use the Havening Technique, we reduce stress chemicals in our bodies and produce states of relaxation and calm. We also change the way our brain processes thoughts and feelings. Over time, this actually changes the neural pathways in your brain.

The patterns of touch used in Havening are what enable a mother to comfort her baby as they are hardwired into every baby. Havening combines these deep-rooted patterns of reassurance with sequences to break associations that have triggered unhappy or uncomfortable feelings.

Thus, in just a few minutes, we can now reduce the intensity of an emotion or a feeling of unease and restore calm. It uses simple touch to soothe the body and mind. I’ve used it throughout the pandemic to help frontline workers – doctors, nurses, paramedics and paramedics – deal with stress.

It was created by Dr. Ronald Ruden, a neuroscientist, who discovered that repeated patterns of touching parts of the body combined with specific eye movements and visualizations have a rapid, reliable, and predictable effect on our feelings.

1 Pay attention to any stress or traumatic memories you wish to remove and note what it looks like in your imagination and how stressful it is. Now rate its strength on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the most powerful and 1 the least powerful. This is important because it allows you to measure how much you are reducing it.

Clear your mind, or just think of something cool or imagine it.

2 Cross your arms, place your hands on top of your shoulders and close your eyes.

3 4 Run your hands down the sides of your arms from the top of your shoulders to your elbows and continue to do this downward stroking motion over and over again throughout this process.

5 While stroking the sides of your arms, imagine that you are walking on a beautiful beach, with each step you take in the sand, count aloud from one to 20: One, two, three…

6 Keeping your head still, while continuing to stroke your arms, move your eyes laterally to the left and laterally to the right ten times.

7 Still caressing the sides of your arms, imagine that you are walking outside in a beautiful garden, with each step you take in the grass, count aloud from one to 20: One, two, three…

8 Now open your eyes and check your scale from 1 to 10. How much lower is the number of feelings of stress now? If it’s at the very bottom of the scale, congratulations – you’ve personally changed your feelings. If you think the feeling of stress is not yet reduced enough, simply repeat the Havening sequence until it is reduced as much as you want.

Positivity: Confidence, Resilience, Motivation by Paul McKenna (Welbeck, £14.99). For free UK delivery on orders over £20 call Express Bookshop on 020 3176 3832 or visit

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