Physiological Stress Busters

Physiological Stress Busters

By Jennifer Butler, M.Ed., CPC, BCC

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In my coaching work with dental professionals, I have often found that people are actually contributing to their stress without realizing it. These people experience physiological stress. Physiological stress is the unfavorable effect of environmental factors (stressors) on the physiological functions of an organism. And, for most people, it’s the least recognized type of stress.

What causes the greatest physiological stress? It’s often the exact behavior(s) people use to reduce their situational or psychological stress. By participating in unhealthy and ineffective habits, they are actually INCREASING stress levels, not reducing them.

If you experience a lot of stress, you can break the cycle by recognizing the habits you engage in that are counterproductive to your goal of stress reduction.

Contributing habits to physiological stress: • Venting • Smoking • Gossiping • Drinking/drugs • Extreme and/or excessive exercise • Walking away from confrontation or conflict • Self-injurious behavior (cutting, hitting, etc.) • Abnormal sleep patterns (sleeping too much or too little) • Prolonged periods of electronics (TV, computer, phone, iPad) • Unstable eating (too little, too much, emotional, strange food addictions) • Unbalanced sex life (too little, too much, risky encounters, illegal actions)

Healthy habits to reduce your stress: • Assertiveness • Fierce conversations • Direct confrontations • Just say no to drugs • Restful night’s sleep • Limited alcohol intake • Varied exercise regime • Open (and safe) intimacy • Balanced nutritional program

Yes, it’s easier said than done to change your habits. Some habits are highly addictive while others are so deeply rooted into our daily routines we wouldn’t know what else to do in their place.

Coaching Tip:

When starting a behavioral change, consider one of these ways to take the first step: 1) Start with what will make the biggest impact. Evidence that our hard work is paying off will often keep us going. 2) Start with the easiest change. Sometimes the thought of making changes is too overwhelming itself and paralyzes us. Small, easy changes eventually add up and make great differences. 3) Start with changes where you have support. Changing unhealthy habits alone can be difficult: Starting them with a loved one or supportive friends can be very doable. 4) Start with the one change where you have access to the most resources. There are many services and programs available that can offer you structure, information, and tips.

Copyright 2013 by Jen Butler Coaching. All rights reserved.

jenbutlerAbout the author:

Jennifer Butler, M.Ed., CPC, BCC is the principal of Keystone Partnerships, LLC, and owner of Jen Butler Coaching. She has 20 years experience in Learning & Development with a concentration on education, adult learning, sales, and leadership. She has worked with entrepreneurs, small business owners, corporate leaders and executives on how to obtain sustainable profitability with less stress and more fulfillment.

Jen’s passion is to help dental professionals align who they are with what they do. Through her Executive Coaching, clients uncover their mission in life, vision for the future, purpose for business, and personal values from which to build all of them. Contact her at, or call 623.776.6715.