When it comes to stress, we all have our share. We all fall prey to it at some point. My dear friend Sandra Pawula knows all too well what it is to fall into the trap of stress….But, she found a way to Live with ease despite the stresses. She has found ways to reduce this stress and make our life more free of it. Sandra shares her wisdom in a new ecourse Living with Ease: 21 Days to Less Stress. I had a chance to interview her about this essential course. Enjoy her wisdom below darlings and be sure to join her course. Details at the end of the interview :-
Living with Ease: 21 Days to Less Stress
Interview with Sandra Pawula
Zeenat: What sparked the idea of creating this course?
Sandra: Once I decided to create an e-course, this topic felt obvious to me because I’ve led a very high stress life with ill-effects and, at the same time, I value mindfulness. Putting the two together into a course felt natural. I’ve been teaching mindfulness meditation online for more than five years. Although I began reading about mindfulness-based stress reduction many years ago, I only started to learn the techniques in recent years. They are powerful, scientifically proven, and change peoples’ lives.
I know precisely how damaging stress can be from my own personal experience. My health took a big downslide 10 years ago. I frantically searched for physical solutions, but it wasn’t until I took stress seriously that I found all the pieces of my medical puzzle.
I think most people don’t take the adverse impacts of stress seriously enough. We tend to think stress is part and parcel of modern life and shrug it off. But the chronic activation of the stress response can lead to or exacerbate significant problems like heart disease, immune-dysfunction, anxiety, and depression. The stress response involves a biochemical cascade that effects almost every system of your body. When stress becomes chronic it naturally has a detrimental effect on your joy, your health, and your relationships.
I don’t want anyone to suffer from stress unnecessarily as I did. So sharing effective methods for reducing stress and increasing ease seemed like the perfect topic for an e-course.
Zeenat: Stress reduction is the key component of your course. According to you how will this course help in reducing the stress?
Sandra: My course is a mix of stress reduction techniques, mindfulness, self-exploration, inspiration, and fun supportive practices like the ones you shared recently in your post on 5 Fun and Positive Quick Ways to Stress LESS.
The techniques I share help to reduce stress because they invoke the relaxation response when practiced repeatedly. In addition, I encourage people to identify their own stress triggers and to explore the underlying patterns that add stress to their life. Many people report having “ah ha” moments during the course, indicating how knowledge itself is powerful and transformative.
Since Dr. Herbert Benson identified the “relaxation response” – the counterpoint to the stress response – 30 years ago, many scientific studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of stress reducing activities like meditation, prayer, yoga, and even knitting among others. The relaxation responses produces a measurable, positive response.
Around the same time, Jon-Kabat Zinn pioneered the use of mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques in medicine with equally powerful results. Research has shown time and again that his techniques not only reduce stress, but also have a positive impact on many medical diseases and disorders, when used as a complement to traditional medicine.
Zeenat: On a personal level, how do you handle emotional stress?
Sandra: I’ve been prone to strong emotions my entire life. So I understand that handling emotional stress is not easy, but I know it’s possible if you set your mind to it.
I handle emotional stress in two ways, using perspective and mindfulness. As I mentioned above, I’ve found insight to be a potent ally in positive change. I had to change my views and attitude to begin mastering my emotions. The following three perspectives have helped me enormously.
– Emotions are temporary. They will pass if you don’t fuel them with more thoughts and emotions or if you counter them with positive antidotes like love, compassion, confidence, acceptance, and so on.
– Whatever has been constructed in the mind can be deconstructed. For example, I learned to be fearful as a child. I made that fear stronger and stronger through repetition so it became my go-to response. As an adult, I’ve learned that I can undue that response. It takes time because the response has been embedded in the brain, but it’s more than possible to effect positive change with regular practice.
-It doesn’t help to make your negative emotions your enemy or to berate yourself for having them. A gentle, loving approach to whatever arises in your mind is far more effective.
Mindfulness and awareness are the methods I use to put these perspectives into action. Whenever I find myself distracted or caught up in an emotion, I just bring my mind back to the present moment. Of course, sometimes this is easier to do than other times, depending on the strength of the emotion. Returning the mind to the present moment is the heart of mindfulness practice. You may need to do this hundreds of times, but gradually you begin to live right here, right now. And, when you do, you find there’s so much less stress and far more ease.
Zeenat: Did you have to put in a lot of research into creating this course?
Sandra: I’ve been studying mindfulness for many years and stress reduction over the last few years. I didn’t have to put a significant amount of time into new research for this course because I was already familiar with most of the content and techniques. But, it did require some research. And, it still took a considerable amount of time to write the course because I really care and want to offer people the best possible experience.
Zeenat: Who do you think will benefit from this course?
Sandra: Anyone who is struggling with stress and would like to acquire a mix of effective skills in a kind and supportive ambiance. People can begin to make significant shifts in their ability to dissolve stress in 21 days. But, it’s not magic! You have to practice the techniques regularly and be willing to self-explore, however we do this in a relaxed, supportive, and enjoyable atmosphere. Also the course is not intended as medical treatment for people who have serious conditions, although it can be a complement to medical treatment.
The capacity for mindfulness already exists within you. It’s simple, free, and will enrich your life. Why not give it a try?
About Sandra the creator of this essential course:
Sandra Pawula is a writer, mindfulness advocate, and champion of living with ease. She writes about finding greater happiness and freedom on her blog Always Well Within. Her signature e-course Living with Ease: 21 Days to Less Stress begins on January 6th and you can register now.
JOIN the Living with Ease: 21 Days to Less Stress(click here) now! You won’t regret it!
With Immense Love & Gratitude,
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3 thoughts on “Living with Ease: 21 Days to Less Stress ~ Interview with Sandra Pawula”
“Whenever I find myself distracted or caught up in an emotion, I just bring my mind back to the present moment.”
…Sandra you couldn’t be more right on.
Level of stress equates to the perception of time and underlying emotions within this container.
There is always more time to carry out a function than what our imagination can present to ourselves. I learned this as an IATSE stagehand moving large complicated props on and off stage for a magic show much like Siegfried and Roy…you know with tigers, leopards, and a lion. Just need to relax and slow down the container of time that you find yourself in…it is all relative.
Yes, repetition over time does help one be in the moment.
I was taught watchmaking near 35 years ago by an elderly man who worked on clocks and watches for over 60 years. A helpful bit of advise that I still use when I am working on lets say…a 150 year old watch…is to walk away from the repair job if the moments perception is not going right (stress). I have found that being away from the job could be only a matter of minutes to identify an emotional issue.
Lastly, as an Audio/Visual Tech operating a meeting room for some convention I often notice how very small mistakes get magnified. With technology we sometimes expect perfection and forget we are only human beings…
Thank you Sandra and Zeenat!
These are excellent suggestions for working with stress. I love this idea in particular: “Level of stress equates to the perception of time and underlying emotions within this container.” Taking a break almost always help too. Yes, we are just human and the more self-acceptance we can offer ourselves and each other, the less stress life will be. Thanks for adding these valuable experiences and insights.
Taking the class now…Michelle
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