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Section: 2 The Master Strategy: Stage 1 > Reviewing the Master Strategy: Stage ...

Reviewing the Master Strategy: Stage 1

  1. Breathing for Stress Mastery

    1. Differentiating ative relaxation and passive relaxation

      1. You must address your body. It's hard to tame stressful thoughts if your body is tense.

      2. Don't confuse inactivity with relaxation. Passive relaxation is not nearly as effective for reducing stress.

      3. You need active relaxation aimed at counteracting the fight-or-flight response and restoring homeostasis.

      4. Active relaxation involves becoming aware of your body and your physiological reactions to consciously decrease your arousal level.

    2. Diaphragmatic breathing

      1. Breathe from your diaphragm, not from your upper chest.

      2. Take deep, slow, rhythmic breaths; this counteracts the rapid, shallow, chest-breathing characteristic of fight-or-flight arrousal or anxiety. Shallow, quick breathing disrupts the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance in your bloodstream; deep, slow breathing restores the oxygen balance in your bloodstream.

      3. Remember the tips for facilitating diaphragmatic breathing.

        1. Imagine putting on a tight pair of blue jeans.

        2. Put a book on your abdomen and watch it rise and fall.

    3. Other benefits of proper breathing

      1. Helps overcome anxiety disorders such as phobias.

      2. Affects your perception of time; helps ease time pressure.

      3. Helps keep you in the here and now, and away from worrying about the future or lamenting your past.

      4. Can create powerful alterations in consciousness that facilitate spiritual exploration and growth.

    4. Generalizing proper breathing to your everyday life

      1. Set up reminders such as strategically placed dots.

      2. Practice it while doing things you do frequently.

      3. Remember to begin diaphragmatic breathing whenever you feel stressed, which will help interrupt your stress-inducing patterns.

      4. Begin practicing in nonstressful situations first, so you can master the technique and be able to use it readily when you are under stress.

    5. Breathing variations

      1. Add holding your breath.

      2. Slow it all down.

      3. Same as variation 2, but when exhaling, hum any note for as long as you can sustain it.

      4. Improve your focus and concentration by alternating breathing through each nostril.

  2. Cultivating Awareness

    1. We all have the ability to become more aware of a multitude of things that make up who we are.

    2. Your ability to become self-aware, to stand apart from yourself and view yourself from the outside, is called the witnessing stance.

      1. You have the choice to be a witness to your own life.

      2. This shift in perspective provides the possibilty of change.

      3. You can't always change stressful situations, but you can always change your response toward the stressor. The witnessing stance allows you to do this.

    3. What triggers your stress response is not events themselves but your perception of events.

      1. By adopting the witnessing stance you can glimpse the meaning you give to a situation. You can then choose to change your perceptions.

      2. Use self-fulfilling prophecies to your advantage; your expectations significantly affect outcomes.

      3. Everything is created three times, including our responses to stress.

        1. First in your thoughts and expectations,

        2. Then by your words and descriptions,

        3. Finally by your actions.

    4. Stress hardiness attitudes are characteristic attitudes shared by individuals who appear very resistant to the negative effects of stress.

      1. Control

        1. Stress-hardy individuals believe they are in control of the stressors, rather than that the stressors have control over them.

        2. They know that if they can't control the stressor, they can control their response to it.

        3. Stress-hardy people refuse to see themselves as victims.

        4. Locus of control

          1. Stress-hardy individuals have an internal locus of control—they believe they are responsible for the outcomes in their lives.

          2. Stress-hardy people do not depend on fate; they endeavor to take active control over their lives.

      2. Commitment

        1. People who have this attitude possess a zest or enthusiasm for life along with persistence.

        2. Commitment is the opposite of alienation, characterized by involvement.

        3. Stress-hardy people begin with an attitude of gratitude.

      3. Challenge

        1. In Chinese, crisis=dangerous opportunity.

        2. People with this attitude recognize that within every crisis there exists a multitude of opportunities.

        3. Those who cope well focus on opportunities rather than on danger or hardships.

    5. Hardiness and stress resistance

      1. Research shows clear links between high scores on measures of hardiness and lower rates of physical illness.

      2. High hardiness scores are also associated with lower rates of psychological difficulties and stronger physical stress tolerance. Hardy subjects do get aroused, but at the right time to the right level.

      3. Optimism is an important component of stress hardiness.



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