Carlee Myers was 12 when a man was murdered in her home, and her mother was shot three times.  She was, naturally, traumatized, and experienced PTSD.  After many years of trying various remedies to alleviate her anxieties and stress, Carlee created a stress reduction system out of the techniques that allowed her to regain her equilibrium, and she shared some of those techniques in this month’s SkillBites Show.

Carlee explained that there are many types of stress, including job related, financial, relationship, health, media overload and even nutritional stress.  The effects of stress can be severe, and range from irritability to lack of emotion, insomnia, depression, high blood pressure and even a stroke or heart attack.  

Not all stress is bad, however.  Stress can help us get a project done, or win a race, for instance.  The key is being able to move the bad stressors to become good stressors, which involves the way we view the stress.  For instance, someone who gets laid off from a job could view the layoff as an opportunity to find a job with greater growth potential, or to spend more time with family.

A critical element of reducing bad stress is controlling the inner voice in our heads:  “What am I going to do?  I’m no good, I can’t do this” etc., etc., etc.  A step in controlling that voice is to answer the questions.  For instance, come up with some options to “What am I going to do?”  For a job layoff, for instance, the answers could include brushing off your resume, looking for a new job, and cutting back on expenses.  Another step is looking at the worst case scenario.  Perhaps the worst case is to move back home until you can get back on your feet.  Often the worst case scenario is not nearly as problematic as it may seem.  By answering the questions that arise and considering the worst case scenario, your mind starts coming up with options and opportunities which you can then consider strategically, and which can reduce that inner voice.

Another tactic that Carlee has found helpful is to make a list of 100+ things that bring you joy.  That could include such activities as eating ice cream, smelling lilies, walking in a park, and travelling to Hawaii.  Then evaluate the list:  if you were to do that every day, would that be healthy and realistic for you?  Cross out those items that wouldn’t be healthy or realistic based on your finances, time or other personal circumstances.  You may not be able to afford to go to Hawaii, for instance.  Of the items that remain, start trying them and see if they enable you to reduce your stress.  

The idea is to take action.  When you feel stressed, you are more likely to shut down, both mentally and physically.  Taking action gets you back in gear.

Some additional tactics that Carlee shared included the following:

  • When feeling stressed, chew gum.  Chewing releases hormones, which can reduce stress.
  • Smile, even if you have to fake it.  Smiling activates certain chemicals in the brain that will make you feel better.
  • Strike a power pose, with hands on hips.  Again, this will activate a natural response in your brain that makes you feel better about yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  You deserve it.

Carlee offered the SkillBites audience a complimentary 30 minute one-on-one clarity session to get to the root of what’s causing your stress.  Just go to her website, and mention you heard of her offer on this podcast.  Carlee also offered her upcoming online training, How to Break Free From “Busy” and Stress Less, on January 29 at 1 pm ET.  To register for this free training, go to