TALK ABOUT STRESS…

by David Delaney

I get calls from potential clients on a regular basis who are out of work, have anxiety and need help improving their focus, motivation, and ability to be stay calm in the face of challenge, and present when they interview for jobs.  Another way to say this is that they need improved peak or optimal performance.  This is a very difficult economy for many folks and losing a job can have devastating effects on a person’s confidence and financial worries, on top of family, social obligations, and the pressures of an intense life what we all experience.

Lou (not his real name) comes to me with this situation.  He already has had depression and anxiety issues and has been on multiple medications to help him be able to function well in a stressful position that demands excellence in work performance from him.  He worked for a Fortune 500 Company before being laid off due to the economic downturn.  His losing his position had nothing to do with incompetence; they simply had to lay some folks off due to the economic reality.

Tipping point…

Really, every human has their tipping point, past which they lose their ability to function well.  Biological stress is a serious and actual problem when there is too much of it and for too long a time.  One person can effectively deal with it, while another cannot.  Lou is one such person.   Each of us has the same body and psyche, but as well, each of us is unique in the limits of the amount of stress we can cope with. Genetics, personality characteristics, learned coping behaviors or lack thereof, diet, immune system capability, past traumas and illness, as well as current stressors all play a part in how much we can resist the stress before it puts us into exhaustion and collapse.  This is the science developed by Hans Sale (Link), endocrinologist.

His instincts kick in to help resolve his stress…

Lou had done some Neurofeedback many years ago and it had helped him get through a particularly stressful time.   He does a search on the Internet, and after reading a number of other therapist’s websites; he calls me to interview me.  He is attracted to the non-linear approach of comprehensively feeding back to the brain it’s own behavior each time it begins to produce electrical events that are synonymous with fight or flight. And from the beginning of his training sessions, he is amazed at how good the NeurOPTIMAL approach makes him feel.  His sleep alone improves within the first few sessions.

Here are his comments as he wrote on his pre-post form that I ask clients to fill out:

  • Before session 2: a little fatigued; brain is tired, brain fog, pain in body
  • After session 2: calmer after treatment; not so anxious like I had a brain work-out
  • Before session 3: my brain, sense it is overwhelmed due to physical exertion- feel somewhat lonely, feel the immensity of built up stress that my system is still holding onto
  • After session3: much more relaxed, brain feels clear, felt tension release- really liking this so far
  • Before session: 4 stronger mentally, somewhat fatigued emotionally- less fight or flight- less anxious, more patient with my children, better able to assess my ability to handle stressful events
  • After session 4: Really good!
  • Before session 5: Physically good- emotionally less reactive, mentally- rested and alert; I feel less reactive, responding to stress, sleep is better; sleep is not 100% great, but seems to be getting better, reducing sleep medicine and still getting enough sleep
  • After session 5:   Very good!  great session, felt rush of energy flowing in my CNS.  Incredible!
  • Before session 7:  continuing to exercise more and eat better; clearing of brain fog; better focus, less anxious; slept until alarm went off last few nights
  • After session 7: anxiety levels down, better sleep now and generally more consistent; more confidence in job interviews; more flow in my life.
  • The last session, he honestly said to me, “If I felt any better, I don’t know that I could handle it” while laughing out loud!

Sometimes when someone is on multiple medications as this gentleman is, you just don’t know how the brain will respond and in what time sequence.  But from the beginning, Lou has responded wonderfully.  When you are with him, he seems lighter and happier and more confident.  His home life is better, he tells me.

Facing his stress in a more resilient way…

Lou is still having to set up and go to interviews to find work. But he is more calm and focused in doing so.    He even gets a chance, through his networking, for a position in his old company.  He tells me how each step has gone from the phone interview to the face-to-face ones.  He is not in the grips of his anxiety and depression and is even feeling motivated and confident.  We just completed his 14th training session and he is happy that he let his instincts get him to my office.

What’s is next?

Sometimes, especially when the pressure is on, we need support to keep us resilient enough to face our challenges and persevere until we achieve our goal.  If I can help, please contact me and I am happy to speak to you about your situation.