The secret ingredient to creating effective change

So what is this secret ingredient to creating effective change?

Has it eluded you in the past? But the sense of being trapped in a cycle of pressure and busy-ness means you don’t have the energy to stop, think and discover what it is?

Quote by Einstein Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

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7 Steps to Stop Stress in its Tracks

Life is full of situations and people that are ready to press your STRESS buttons.

Image of word Stress, red lettering on black background


You can’t change them but you can use these 7 steps to stop stress in its tracks, and change your responses.


1. Know your stress triggers, what sets you off?

2. Shift your focus from “out there” to “in here”.

3. Be aware of your habitual response to stress:

a. Do you Fight – get angry, irritable, grit your teeth?

Image of red letter f for fight response to stress

b. Do you Flee – avoid it, run away, cry?

Image of capital F to flee from stress

c. Do you Freeze – like a rabbit in the headlights, can’t move, think or act?

Black F in circle, stress response of Freezing

When you know your default F response, you can take steps to change it.

4. Understand the costs of unresolved stress to your health and well-being.

Perhaps you already experience some of these: headaches, indigestion, insomnia, grumpy with loved ones.

Left unattended, you can end up with high blood pressure, damaged immune system and many other health problems, not to mention breakdown of relationships and inability to focus and be effective at work.

5. Take charge of your responses.

Learn and use simple strategies to change your response to stressful situations.

6. Do something just for you each day.

Take a few minutes to notice something beautiful, relaxing, or special.

Image of sunflower against sky

7. Be thankful for at least one thing each day.

Get a notebook and write it down.

Image of Stress relax sign posts

Here is a simple stress buster to get you started on No. 5.

Take three gentle deep breaths down into your abdomen when you are starting to feel stressed. (You can take more if you need to)

This simple activity switches off the stress response and helps you to pause and unwind, so that you can start to think more clearly.

And last but not least, SMILE.

Research shows that smiling boosts your happy hormones and lifts your mood. Have something around that helps you to smile on those challenging days – a picture, photo, something that amuses you.

photograph of a group of smiling children

How about a little extra help?

Now you are getting to grips with that stress, why not try a free weekly Unwind Top 2 Toe email. You can sign up here

Do you have a favourite tip to de-stress that you would like to share? We would love to hear what helps, so please add it below, thanks.

Katrina Wood and I have developed a support programme for women who are juggling too many demands on their time and energy. We focus on simple, practical ways to de-stress so that participants can unwind and think clearly. Check out to learn more, and visit us on Facebook

© Jenny Cooper August 2014



The Right Tools for the Job

Don’t you just love toolboxes? All those compartments and trays to keep your tools ready for action? And can you find the right tool for the job when you need it?

At the last count, I have at least five toolboxes: three containing art materials all sorted and ready for action, but the two with screwdrivers and other d.i.y tools – that’s something else. On one occasion I had to go out and buy another hammer mid-job because mine was hiding somewhere.

Grey toolbox with red tray, and tools for jobs round the house

Toolbox for jobs round the house

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Coffee, kids and continents – Uthando project

Did you ever go out for a coffee and come home with something you didn’t plan that has profound layers of significance?

Uthando project – “Dolls for the children of Kwazulu-Natal”

In The Ivy, a local cafe in Albany, Western Australia, I discovered a wonderful project – making dolls for orphans in South Africa. Continue reading

Plain or Pearl – Knitting up Your Life

And yes, I do mean “pearl”, not purl. Way back on New Year’s Eve, I watched our hostess start knitting a scarf with large knitting needles and chunky wool. It grew quickly into a lacy fabric, and inspired me to dig out some even larger needles and have a go at home.

Chunky knitting on large needles

It grows so fast..

That seems like yesterday, and now it is the middle of March, time seems to be going faster and faster. Continue reading

What do mushrooms have to do with anything?

Mushrooms grow successfully in all sorts of unlikely places. What is your association with them?

Dark cellars? half way up a tree? lurking in the undergrowth? Some are safe to eat, some are poisonous.

If you don’t look in the right place, you might miss them, like these… Continue reading

The end is the beginning – final transition

“The end is where we start from…” (T.S.Elliot)

We have reached the third and final stage of transitions…after looking at endings, the muddle in the middle, and finally we can start to make a new beginning.

Except it is never a totally new beginning, Continue reading