Supporting LIfe's Journey

  • Todd Glacy

The Art of Stress Mastery

The Art of Stress Mastery

November 1, 2019

Stress is a fact of life and the human stress response is part of the biological makeup of all people regardless of age, sex, race, class, or culture. What we call the “stress response” is simply a sequence of biological events that activates the sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight state of being). Events that trigger stress can be real or imagined, and are not always based on objective reality, but rather on our perception of it (a stressor for you may not be a stressor for someone else.) Throughout human history, stress has served a valuable purpose in the survival of our species. In this day and age, we see chronic stress and anxiety running rampant in our culture and having adverse effects in all areas of life including mental/physical health, jobs and careers, families and relationships, and ultimately even our overall sense of happiness and well-being. Learning about stress and taking personal responsibility for how we respond to stressors in our own life is essential for decreasing negative and potentially damaging stress reactions and taking control of our overall life experience.

Stress Education During my years as a school counselor, I experienced the very real effects of stress on children as well as adults. One year we began noticing a trend at the school nurse’s office. Every day at 10am a line of students would form (typically the same students day after day) describing symptoms of headache, stomach ache, dizziness, and just “not feeling good”. The nurse would take their temperature and look into their complaint, and then after a brief time end up sending the child back to class. Following up with the students later in the day, they would report they were feeling fine. We wondered what was happening at 10am to cause this spike in “going to see the nurse”, and after checking the school schedule we discovered an unexpected culprit. It turned out that 10am was the school’s math block and many of these children were exhibiting symptoms of stress and anxiety brought on by math class!

The above is a perfect example of how our thoughts around non-life threatening events (assuming you consider 5th grade math non-life threatening) can still trigger our fight/flight response to the point of physical dis-ease, and is a reminder of how important it is to be able to identify the stress triggers and signals in our own lives.

Stress Management vs. Stress Mastery There is a strong distinction between simply managing stress vs. mastering it. When people talk about stress management they may be referring to anything from taking prescription medication to learning specific stress reduction techniques designed to lessen the effects of the stress response and move towards a more natural relaxed state known as the parasympathetic nervous system or Relaxation Response. While stress management is an important aspect of reducing stress symptoms once they have occurred (and is an important part of any good stress mastery program), total stress mastery is focused on building awareness of how we process, perceive and react to life events in order to produce real and long lasting positive results. The ability to master stress is a skill that can be learned by anyone willing to apply themselves, and can lead to a more conscious, healthy and empowered way of living in the world.

Benefits of Stress Mastery Some of the positive benefits of stress mastery include:

Ability to feel more calm and relaxedImproved mental/physical health and well-beingEnhanced creativity and ability to problem solve in productive waysSense of empowerment and control over how we respond to life eventsAbility to process and cope with difficult situations in a healthy mannerDevelop resilience and the ability to quickly recover from stressful eventsNurture a more optimistic, meaningful and healthy outlook on life

Steps to Stress Mastery The Stressmaster Training Program follows a proven step by step formula to guide participants toward total stress mastery:

1. Stress Assessment: Meaningful change occurs when we know and understand what areas and attitudes to focus on.

2. Stress Education: Increase knowledge of stress management theory. Learn what stress is, where it comes from, how it can help or hurt us mentally/physically/emotionally, and how to increase awareness of our own unique stress indicators and habits.

3. Implementing Positive Lasting Change: Knowledge without action does not produce real change. Taking personal responsibility for how we choose to handle stress by actively implementing and practicing self-awareness and consciously reprogramming old beliefs and habits into more positive and desirable ones.

Stress may be an unavoidable reality of life, but with the right attitude, information and awareness we can learn to master it in ways that allow us to use it as a tool for our greatest benefit, which was its intended purpose in the first place.

For more information about StressMaster Training Programs, contact Todd Glacy 207-229-9965 or email:

Todd Glacy is an Enlightenment Advocate, Personal Empowerment Educator, and an Instigator of Joy. Combining his talent and training as a counselor, minister, educator, speaker and facilitator he offers programs for promoting and empowering people to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Contact him at: