This weekend is a very special weekend. I participate in Tony Robbins’ first virtual 4-day event of UPW. I have just finished day three and feel how tough and intense these days are. Tough because the sessions last longer than 14 hours a day and take place at reasonable times in the US – but here in the Netherlands this is just in the middle of the night. Intense, because so much knowledge is shared and no parts within this marathon are superfluous. And then I have to admit that I have a lot of the base knowledge as an NLP master practitioner. I don’t want to know how overwhelmed with information you get when the subject is completely new.

Anyway, I am of course not only attending the training out of self-interest, but also looking at what knowledge I can bring to my clients. Tony’s target audience seems quite different from mine. The majority of UPW’s participants are business owners and are at a critical point in their business life. My coachees are mostly employed and want to get rid of their stress complaints, and would like to do that as soon as possible.

 

What is the common denominator of those two groups?

The desire or sometimes even the need for change.

Two important if not the most important pillars for change are our body and our emotions. To clarify how our body and feelings are related: for example, if we feel depressed, this will be obvious for others. Head and shoulders hanging, the posture slightly bent forward. The eyes look down and the corners of the mouth go down. Just the opposite can be seen when we feel good. We stand upright, our breast forward, the eyes are curious about the surroundings and we also smile.

 

To make this clear, I would like to invite you to do an experiment

Remember or imagine a moment that you were/are depressed, and actually feel this feeling of depression right now. Stand up and watch your body responding. How your body adapts to this feeling of depression. Then also remember or imagine a situation that you felt incredibly good. And then also stand how you would stand with this emotions. Observe how your body conforms to this.

You may even notice how not only your body but also your thinking is affected by how you feel. The reverse is also true: our thinking determines how we feel.

At the end I would like to invite you to combine this positive posture with a depressed feeling. Also, make the effort to adopt the body posture of depression and combine it with a sense of positivism. Both will be much less easy for you than with the exercises that body and feelings are congruent, in harmony with each other.

 

How can we now use this phenomenon to experience less stress?

Consider what your body looks like when you feel stressed. How is your posture, how is your facial expression, and also your breathing? What about your shoulders, your back, your head, maybe even your legs. Then also consider what this would be like if you were relaxed. Use the characteristics of a relaxed state precisely at times when you feel stressed and rushed. Try to let your muscles relax, consciously breathe more slowly and deeply and also smile. A smile relaxes our face and makes our body produce dopamine that makes us feel better.

You will see that with this tool you should start with baby steps, when you experience little or no stress. Simply because our stress pattern is so strong and our body goes into an alarm mode so quickly that it takes a while to break this pattern.

So body and emotions are closely linked. Consciously use your physiology to influence the stressed out feeling. Use the features of a relaxed body position to relax your body. You can immediately apply two of those characteristics that yield a lot of results. Breathe more slowly and deeply and smile more. If you notice that this is not possible due to the rush of the day or because you simply forget, then put a reminder on your mobile phone in the beginning. Over time, you will no longer need the reminder because it becomes an automatic pattern allowing your body to consciously relax from time to time.