The Six Pillars of Stress Relief

We all live with stress,

Stress is our psychological, physiological, and behavioural response to change, trauma or injury. How we perceive a stress promoting event and react to it, determines its impact on our health.

It can be a positive motivating experience or an overwhelming feeling that can manifest into an illness.

I often hear “Oh, It’s just stress!” The “go-to” reference for uncertainty or an inability to express a difficult felt experience. We avoid using words to describe physical sensations or emotions we feel .

How did stress become this umbrella term for everything?

Stress envelopes every aspect of our life:

  • It inhabits our internal perceptions of unrealistic expectations, rigid thinking, the need to be perfect, or being afraid.
  • It encompasses the external influences of world events, media, the economy, a demanding boss.
  • It transforms into acute short-term problems of a difficult workplace, an illness, a bad relationship, negative habits, or sleeping problems
  • It leads to chronic illness, isolation, loneliness, anxiety, depression or financial difficulties, for example.

It doesn’t help that most women are responsible for juggling life’s situations such as caregiving, family matters, or a demanding workplace. 

In a study called STRESS AND HEALTH: Psychological, Behavioral, and Biological Determinants, demonstrated how the relationship between psychosocial stressors and disease is affected by the nature, psychosocial experiences, the persistence of the stressors as well as by the individual’s biological vulnerability (i.e., genetics, constitutional factors), psychosocial resources, and learned patterns of coping.

Bringing awareness to the “how” stress activates you, can offer internal relief to where it manifests in your wellbeing.

I highlight six pillars that offer insight into ways to release stress from observing your health history, childhood experiences, coping strategies developed to get through difficult situations. They may have become habits that got activated into an automatic pilot response resulting in a chronic stress that was expressed in – pain, overwork, or self inflicted issues.

Pillar 1: Physical
Experiencing pain from physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, digestive problems.
Applying a nutritious diet, movement and better lifestyle choices to diminish pain or control symptoms.
Pillar 2: Emotional
Experiencing feelings of anxiety, depression, irritability and mood swings.
Mindful meditation can alleviate stress when better understanding emotions and their habits.
Pillar 3: Mental
Feeling overwhelmed by too many thoughts, or the inability to focus or concentrate,
Understanding stress reactivity and applying wellness principles with meditation that supports mental relief by calming the mind. Other therapies may play a role or if needed medications.
Pillar 4: Behavioral
Reacting with negative coping mechanisms in difficult situations such as overeating, extensive smoking or substance abuse, are rooted in patterns formed as habits.
Understanding your own stress triggers, stress response and communication through mindfulness principles providing behavioural relief.
Pillar 5: Social
When isolation, loneliness and difficulty relationships are causing stress,
Building a supportive network can reduce social isolation and improve relationships by connecting with others.
Pillar 6: Spiritual
Struggling with direction, connection, and purpose
Seeking a deeper sense of meaning and inner peace may lead to a path of spiritual joy.

Applying Meditation, mindful eating, mindful movement, breathwork, nutritious eating brings relief to stress in the body and mind:

To develop a mindfulness practice and learn about it in the Heal to Health: A mindful practice to cope with stress program. It’s not just about meditation. It offers a deeper understanding about stress reactivity, stress responses and better communication for reducing stress in your life.

Incorporating mindful eating into your daily life is covered in Feed the Brain: A mindful eating a approach to nourish the body, heart and mind.

Both programs include movement and breathwork that are beneficial for bringing the practice into your consciousness everyday, is the process for relieving stress.

The body knows how to heal itself: we must listen…



A silent retreat day offers an opportunity to spend an extended period in silence with a group of people. Participants are guided through a series of mindful movement and sitting meditations with an opportunity to reflect upon and share the experience at the end. While the idea of being silent for an extended amount of time may seem daunting, it is a welcome respite to enjoy stillness in the fast pace of everyday life that we experience.

March 19th is the silent retreat day for a current Heal To Health group in progress. We are opening it up to anyone who’s taken a MBSR program or has a personal practice. If it’s your first time participating in a meditation group, this maybe too demanding for you.

Past participants of the mindfulness-based stress reduction and Health to Health programs that I have presented, found the experience restorative and enhanced their personal insight and self knowledge of their mindfulness practice.

“ I loved the silent retreat day, it was like taking a day off from my life”. Janet R.

“The silent retreat was so calming, I floated away after it was over and enjoyed the rest of my day feeling such calm”. Maureen L.

The benefits are a day of restorative self-care:

  • Spending a day in personal reflection.
  • Calming the mind
  • Reducing physical tension
  • Sharing in a group of like-minded and caring people
  • Bringing inner peace and purpose in spiritual solace.
  • Focusing on positive habits and attitudes

$35 for the day

View the day’s schedule


On MINDFUL TUESDAYS we Practice Together at 6 pm. Click on link to find out more.


Feed the Brain: A mindful eating approach is a perfect way to gain a better relationship with food and body. How can you enjoy food without suffering from the side effects of food anxiety or weight gain? Come on a journey of science and discovery of how the body functions in its natural state and have fun exploring foods that you’ve never tasted this way before. Date TBD

The next Heal to Health begins May 11th  from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

Sign up for any of the learning programs or drop-in sessions. Contact me if you have any questions, I’d love to talk to you any time. Schedule a virtual coffee/tea here.

My best in health,



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