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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Clay


Stress affects people of all ages, genders, and circumstances and can lead to both physical and psychological health issues. By definition, stress is any uncomfortable emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological, and behavioral changes. Anxiety is described as Intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and feeling tired may occur. And lastly, fear is an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined.

These are unpleasant effects on our experience of life and do not sound like things we would consciously choose to have in our lives. And yet, these effects are being felt at a growing rate, especially with our youth. The overarching concern our nervous system is expressing is that it does not feel safe, which is causing our defense systems to become overactive. There are many factors that come together to cause the above issues. We can minimize and, in many cases, eliminate them by strengthening our sense of awareness and connection with the present moment.       

With awareness, we are able to navigate the present moment and make the conscious choices required to transform our present into what is needed for our best quality of life possible. One of the hardest things to do is to realize and admit to ourselves that these negative emotions are mostly, if not all, self-induced. Yes, it is true that there was a moment when the threat was real and present. The trouble we experience is that the mind and body tend to hold on to these moments well after the threat and or fear has left. We then are trapped, realizing these fears in the background of our mind and body, creating a negative feedback loop. This feedback loop usually strengthens the longer the underlying cause goes unaddressed. The absence of awareness can have us pointing the finger at someone or something else as the blame for our stresses when, in reality, it is that we are getting triggered by something unhealed within us. We can even begin to defend our sense of stress, anxiety, and fear. We begin to identify with these feelings by stating "My anxiety" as if it is a friend we are forced to deal with instead of what it really is: a feeling we are feeling.   

The ego's defense is strong, and as many would say in defense, “we’re only human,” which is exactly the problem. We forget about our spiritual essence. Some may argue that it is stress, anxiety, or fear that gives them the needed sense of motivation to accomplish their goal(s). Agreed, they can be used in a way to create a positive outcome. My argument is that it is not required, and any positive outcome from a negative motivator is often accompanied by unfulfillment. Spend the same amount of time working on your focus, drive, will, and desire. For a healthy functioning brain, negativity is only a state of mind or thought, and blaming anyone or anything else is only justifying our ego (lack of awareness).

By raising our awareness, we can begin to detach from the feelings of who we are and begin to look at what is causing us to feel unsafe. The more we are able to bring our minds to the present moment, the more the intensity of such fears will decrease. With the clients I have worked with, every one of them open to my coaching has seen, at the very least, a reduction in their experience of anxiety, and at the very best, we have been able to remove some to all aspects of it.


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