Eben Pagan’s Blog

All Stressed Out, Nowhere To Go

Posted in Psychology, Success by ebenpagan on December 28, 2008

I’m considering creating a video training program to help others reduce or eliminate stress from various parts of their lives. It seems that many people experience too much stress, but they have nowhere to go for answers about how to eliminate it. I’d like to fix that.

From what I’ve learned in my own research over the years, stress is the “main culprit” behind such diverse robbers of life as:

  • Weight gain
  • Sickness
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems
  • Fear and pessimism
  • Lack of focus and productivity
  • Career and business failure

…and a host of other issues.

The way I’m thinking of it right now, over-exposure to “negative stress” manifests itself in our 3 “human realms” – physically, emotionally, and mentally.

  • Physical stress manifests as tension
  • Emotional stress manifests as anxiety
  • Mental stress manifests as worry

Over the past several years, I’ve consciously worked to find the roots of these various types of stress manifestations, and to create solutions and preventative measure. I’m talking about everything from meditation and conscious muscle relaxation… to positive self-talk and emotional dissociation exercises… and everything in between. I’ve solved a lot of my own issues with stress, and helped others with many of their issues as well.

Right now, I’m most interested in creating education and training programs that will have the highest impact on the most people, and this just seems to be an area where a lot of people are in need right now. The combination of “attention fragmentation” that’s resulting from the modern business/connected environment plus an overall mood of uncertainty is dialing up the stress levels of people everywhere.

So basically I’m trying to figure out if this would be a project that’s worth investing my time and attention in.

Do me a favor: Leave me a comment below, and let me know your thoughts about this. Right now, I’m thinking about creating a 30-90 day video training program (similar to my Wake Up Productive time management/productivity training)… specifically focused on helping others to reduce or eliminate various types of negative stress in their lives (and possibly INCREASE the “positive” types of stress while they’re at it) – to create maximum success, focus, calm, joy, and overall fulfillment with life.

The program would be for everyone, but it would probably have a focus on the “success” aspect of life – as most of us want to reduce stress, anxiety, tension, worry etc. in order to ACHIEVE something.

What do you think? Would you invest in a program like this one? What do you think the right PRICE would be for it?

Do you have any recommendations of books, audio programs or videos I should reference to add to my own experience? Any tips of your own? Any key thinkers in this area I might not know about?

Go wild in the comments – I appreciate it!

79 Responses

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  1. Angela said, on December 28, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    I think it would be a great idea to offer a program helping people with stress in the various forms. I took your Wake Up Productive class and it was perfect. I think one area to delve into is how to stay stress free and be productive while traveling or during a change in your morning ritual. Thanks!

  2. Arman Vakili said, on December 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Hey Eben,

    I think you’re right on point with the whole stress issue that’s going on in our society today. (Great market to be in) haha but of course you know that already…

    In my life personally, I’d say the stress comes from my family and their closed minds about a LOT of the things that I’m pursuing. I think a lot of other people probably fall in this category as well…

    Oh and some demographics… I’m a 22 year old male… don’t know if that helps any.

    I’m sure you’ll keep us posted with the progression of the program. I’m on Twitter so I’ll follow your updates…

    Arman V.

  3. Stacy said, on December 28, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Yes, I would be interested in a program that could teach me how to eliminate the stresses from my life. However, I just don’t think it is possible. There are simply too many factors that would have to be eliminated: 1) I am a caretaker for my elderly father – this causes a huge amount of stress, and is a tremendous burden; 2) I have a son in addiction recovery, which causes a great amount of anxiety and worry over his well-being; 3) I am alone, without a partner, or significant other to “care” for me. 4) I am under terrific financial burdens, which cannot be alleviated in my current situation of having to care 24 hrs/day for my father. Good luck developing a program to help me!

  4. chris said, on December 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Stress is a topic of crucial importance. It is at the root of most of our dissonance & friction, leading in turn to overwhelm & disease. I vote yes for such a project, for both myself and for the many that I know and work with.

  5. Valerie said, on December 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    I think you would hit a home run with this. So many people are overwhelmed and like you said, the stress manifests in many forms. I will check out your Wake Up Productive time (if it is still available) and probably add to this comment.

    Anyway, stress is fact of life and it doesn’t have to be all bad but you do need tools and strategies to deal with it. I am a personal trainer in Los Angeles that has used my motto
    “You are one workout away from a good mood” to keep my clients consistent. Exercise is one of the best stress relievers (as I’m sure you know) but it has to be the right kind of exercise for the type of stress someone has. Example: If someone is really angry, whether it was a fight with girlfriend/boyfriend/boss etc or stuck in traffic and missed an
    appointment, that workout would be very different from the person in complete overwhelm, already on the verge of depression. Knowing the difference and applying it,
    is a skill that can be taught. I wish more trainers understood this. Anyway, I would love to know about your product. I am always seeking additional ways to help my clients.

    Valerie Waters

  6. Biljana said, on December 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Hi Eben,

    Amazing project you are to start is welcome and long overdue, especially when it comes to networkers.

    Being a kind of mentor you are, I have no doubt it will be another successful one.

    What helped me a lot to understand stress and why it’s happening is the book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, showing what really is going on in the brain under the stress. In his research and examples, detailed descriptions go to the deepest deep and bringing to light the works of amazing universe called brain.

    As I continue to learn a lot from you, I hope my 2 cents help.

    Wishing you blissfully prosperous new year and the best of the best you ever wanted.


  7. Jonni La Force said, on December 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I too have found that stress is the seed from which grow the branches of dis-ease, anxiety, relationship problems, financial problems, and poor quality of life in general. When one can be the wall against which the waves of life crash, life takes on a richness of experience that is unexpected in it’s breadth. Usually eliminating something from life would appear to take away and limit its scope, but it actually increases and deepens, very counter-intuitive.
    My clients have always responded best to beginning with self-talk and physical aspects, then moving to meaning, perspective, and underlying life philosophy. I have found the greatest novel demonstrating these concepts in an entertaining yet profound way, to be Shogun. As far as price, I think multiple price points works best for the greatest number of people. Not only is the contrast principle there to ease their decision making process, it allows them to unconsciously recognize what they are willing to commit to today. So beginning around $40 for a basic package with techniques to transform your moment (Totally Transform Your Moment eBook is a good example), simple self-talk programs, and physical stretching/breathing exercises. Moving into more intermediate shifts a la re-framing, moving unconscious behaviors into the conscious, more powerful habit changers priced around $100 to $150. Then the advanced bigger picture, a la man is a meaning making machine, living as if the story you tell/your interpretation of events is the same as what actually occurred, there’s no out there out there, in the ocean of questions there are no answers, type of thing, ranging around $399.


    I have a lot of tips, resources, etc. Happy to share more at another time. These are my immediate thoughts for now.

    Thank you for asking.

  8. crystalsquest said, on December 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Yes, I think we’re all stressed, and I think the root causes of it are:

    * Expectations are at an all-time high
    * Self confidence is at an all-time low (that’s my area of passion)
    * Relaxation and quietude are lost arts (in silence you can’t avoid your inner self)
    * Overwhelm

    For this last reason, I think 30-90 days is probably too much. You’d know yourself that the dropout rate as people move on to the next thing is huge.

    One of the best models I’ve seen lately, and one which could very easily be adapted to stress, has been “The Ten Day Turnaround” by Jeff Smith (free at http://thetendayturnaround.com ). I highly recommend it to everyone, and following the strategies in it have had an incidental benefit of stress-reduction. Especially the post-it-note strategy. Having gone through many courses, this was the first one that felt totally manageable, added nothing to the level of ‘burden’, and which I actually looked forward to receiving for the whole duration. I was even disappointed when it finished.

    I suspect from your level of success you’re probably already doing most of it, but I love how concise, profound and most of all, active, he’s made it.

    PS If time is a concern, would you be interested in a collaboration? DM me @crystalsquest or via http://crystalsquest.com/contact/

  9. Gina Parris said, on December 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I have wondered the same thing as I’m testing the waters for a project that deals specifically with how to eliminate the stress that’s ruining one’s sex life. I know whatever you create will be very valuable.

  10. Audrion Bird said, on December 28, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Eben Pagan,

    I like the idea you got going on up in your head, I would love to learn your strategy on coping with stress and see if it works for me.

    Im a little confused as to what you mean by 3 realms,
    * Physical stress manifests as tension
    * Emotional stress manifests as anxiety
    * Mental stress manifests as worry
    are not worry and anxiety the same thing too you?
    What about anger, I believe that’s an important issue as well to handle.

    If I had any money I would pay ALL of the money I had, IF I was more than sure that I could solve ALL my stress problems.

    Adurion Bird
    Portland Magician

  11. Joann said, on December 28, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I think lots of people would be interested in this type of workshop. I’m happy with how I deal with the stress in my life, so I wouldn’t personally be taking it. I think a section on food and supplements for dealing with stress would be useful also. I will share my one of my mantras for dealing with life (and it’s stress) “It’s not about you”. When bad things happen, and people treat you poorly, it’s more about what’s going on in their heads than it is about you. Don’t take everything personally


  12. Jennifer Marine said, on December 28, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    I think it’s a great idea. One concept that I believe is essential to teach is the power of cognitive therapy: no matter what the outside stressor actually is, it’s what you’re saying internally to yourself that matters.

    For instance, you may have the same workload as you normally do, but because your relationship is falling apart and you haven’t been exercising as much during the winter months, some additional negative extremes have subtly creeped into your thinking and you start saying things to yourself like, “Actually, this isn’t fair that I’m the only person responsible for this project,” or “Why should I have to complete some of this work at home? I used to not mind, but I’m being taken advantage of and now I can’t muster up the motivation. It’s totally unfair, and that pisses me off, and if I can cut corners here and there, dammit, I will!”

    We don’t normally slow down enough to notice our internal dialogue, but it has everything to do with how we shape our reality and especially, our behavior in any area.

    So while you could give people pointers about various realms, I would also hope you provide some big-picture knowledge (which you’re so good at) and tools so that they can assess the accuracy and helpfulness of their thought patterns.

    Look forward to hearing more about it, and best of luck!

  13. Rafe Furst said, on December 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    My favorite in this realm is “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff”

  14. Reduce Stress said, on December 28, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Even a kid going to primary school faces stress now a days. Reduce Stress

  15. George said, on December 28, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I’d be definitely interested in this one however since I’m in grad school I can’t really invest a big amount up front. Maybe $200 up front and then pay in two or three increments of $100 each?

    Something like that. But even if I can’t afford it I’m sure there is a market for busy individuals who would like to know how to get rid of stress.

    I recently watched the PBS Special on Stress (“Stress, Portrait of a Killer”), and had a huge realization!!

  16. Christopher S said, on December 28, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Hey Eben,

    I think your idea is great. I feel the more “aspects” of your life you are able to successfully control, the better.

    I consider myself to be an anxious person; I have dealt with minor anxiety’s for the last few years of my life. It’s an area which is hard to control. Stress and anxiety seem to correlate with lack of production. Continually your mind is plagued with false problems and anxiety’s which block creative thought.

    Your 30-90 day proposal for a self help/achievement program would be a great compliment to your other programs. You have always mentioned the practices of self talk, reframing, and positive thought, but never truly got into details about their importance and how they are a precursors for future success.

    You know, it always amazes me how Dale Carnegie continues to be the source of self improvement. I would definitely recommend “How to stop worrying and how to start living” by Dale Carnegie if you haven’t already read it. I also recommend,

    Richard Bandler- Get the Life You Want (Book)
    Richard Bandler- How to Live a Happy Life (Seminar)
    Shad Helmstatter- What to Say When You Talk to Yourself
    Lawrence Leshan- How to Mediate (Great little book for relaxation techniques)
    David Schwartz- The Magic of Thinking Big
    Napolean Hill- The Laws of Success in 16 Lessons
    Brian Tracy- How to Get Everything You Want
    Paul Scheele (He has some helpful stuff)

    NLP, Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, all seem great places to start. You seem to be interested in the roots of stress/anxiety, with regards to how the brain and body create these emotions. If you could give us some insight to that as well, it would be great!

    From my personal experience, as humans we tend to be stubborn in our beliefs. To
    question our beliefs is to question who we are, and to change our beliefs it to change who we are. I think this program would do just that. It would be great to hear the truths behind success and the importance of eliminating stress and anxiety in order to achieve life goals.

    Keep me posted! Love the idea

    Christopher S, 22

  17. Marco said, on December 28, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Eben, great idea. I hope you are going to pursue this.

    If you do, I recommend you to study the Sedona Method, it’s awesome.

    Regarding the price, I’d say 299 would be good.

    You are getting in every field related to personal development, aren’t you? Hehe. Business, productivity, dating, relationships, learning and now stress relief. It looks like you are doing well 🙂

    I would really LOVE a product on health. That would be kick-ass.

    I hope that helps,

  18. Carol Trescott said, on December 28, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Having spent most of my life in the stress-reduction business, I can attest to the fact that stress-reduction is an elephant of a topic. Having said that, there are infinite ways to tackle that elephant, including the backdoor tricks such as moving the body to quiet the mind, and so forth. As one commentor above noted, control (or the perception of being in control) makes a big difference. On the other hand, we know that some of the biggest “control freaks” are the most sressed-out (and difficult to be around). So I am reminded of the serenity prayer which encompasses tremendous wisdom about “…the serentity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” In other words, its all about balance and restoring balance. My experience is that destressing, which is to say, maintaining or restoring balance, takes not only skills, but most importantly, action or practice. Self-regulation is not a skill that has traditionally been taught in our mainstream education, and people are sorely in need of improvement in this area. I have no doubt that you could put together a course that would make a valuable contribution, so go for it! Personally, it wouldn’t be high on my list to attend…my issues are more about practice, than lack of knowledge or skills, though of course, I have no doubt I could always learn something. Continuing to simplify is helpful to me (as are weekly massages!). Stretching in general is very helpful to my sense of well-being. I enjoy the mental spaces that I get into playing “The Journey to the Wild Divine” biofeedback game, and so on. I agree with the commentor who mentioned something about the role of diet (and to the angry person, a liver cleanse can be surprisingly helpful). Unfortunately, we live in a dysfunctional culture so we have to continually make extra efforts that would not be necessary were we living in a different cultural environment.
    I will close with a quote from a man named Isaac Shapiro, who said: “The only human drama is not wanting the experience we are currently having.” Master that and your mental stress will go away…Of course, that is much easier said than done…but I find it to be a wonderful check-up. The world gets very amazing the less we judge things…

  19. ottonathan said, on December 28, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Nathan here–
    I did the TM-Sidhi program for 30 years, a stress-reduction meditation. I also did primary research on physiological stress indicators on the Vermont prison population when I was 15 and 16. I have casually studied stress for a long time.

    The term was invented by a Canadian doctor around the mid-sixties–before that it wasn’t in the popular vocabulary. The definition is problematic, but everyone knows it when they see it, in a certain way. Stress has physiological indicators which revolve around over-activation of the sympathetic nervous system–elevated cortico-steroids being one of the most correlated indicators.

    I think you and I should spend some time teasing out a cutting-edge definition of stress AND core stressors: doing something that feels wrong or out of integrity, feeling overwhelmed, living too far outside the comfort zone, etc.

    The factors you identify as having “stress” at the root: depression, etc. are also causative, which is typical–stress causes stress. Any program you develop, to be effective, will have to address stress holistically.

    A few rambling, possibly repetitive tidbits and opinions:
    1. The number one antidote to stress is LOVE–giving and receiving love authentically. Related de-stressors include forgiveness as well as cultivation of self-love and happiness.

    2. I think that the objective of most stress programs is equilibrium and dealing effectively with stressors–shorthand for this would to “blandify” life. BOR-ING!. While this is useful, I believe a really cutting-edge program would focus on actually deliberately INCREASING stress in certain areas, and deliberately REJUVENATING in others. This expands capacity and comfort zone. When someone appears to possess equilibrium and relaxation, it is generally because they have practiced in much more intense situations. Think of the combat veteran in a bar fight, vs. the stressed-out punk kid. Stress isn’t the bad guy, anymore than exercise is the bad guy when you get too much of it and get sick or sore. The shorthand for my point here is “expand the comfort zone”. Expand physiological flexibility–total relaxation to total action to total relaxation in 30 seconds.

    3. I like your multi-pronged approach. I suggest that structuring the program by offering models and practices like a menu that allows one to construct their own stress management program and then FOLLOW UP with custom journal pages (online PDF), accountability teams and DharmaMixes would be really cool. Shorthand: personalized and integrated.

    4. About 25% of people are “hot reactors”–compared to the rest of us, they have sharp physiological responses to stress-they are “jumpy”. I suggest that the “stress market” is probably tilted toward these people–probably 75% of people who really need a stress program are hot reactors. From personal experience I believe there are techniques which can be employed to turn a “hot reactor” into a normal reactor. I also think that hot reactors tend to be addicted to their reactions as strategies.

    I think there are probably extreme therapies the have the effect of permanent stress reduction: radical lifestyle experiences, psycho-active therapy, and so on. Think of a man before and after a really wrenching mid-life crisis.

    A couple of models for understanding and approaching stress suggest themselves: one I have mentioned–create exercises that push the edge of the comfort zone outward by leaning just beyond it, coupled with regular deeper rejuvenation. Another is the observation that all internal conflict is a conflict between fear and desire, and that resolving one’s major structural fear/desire conflicts would be a good approach. Another I’m going to call the love/forgiveness/integration model.

    I suggest that a key differentiation of your program from other programs has to do with accepting that stress is a GOOD thing, in the right dose–as Paracelsus, aka Philippus Theophrastus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim, said, the toxin is in the dose. A life with no stress is literally death, and a life with total stress is similarly death. Most “anti-stress” (see the name? ;-)programs have a message of “Get rid of stress and be happy!”, and yours can be “Transform your response to stress to be happy in any situation!” It’s the difference between immature avoidance strategies doomed to failure because shit happens, and real transformation.

    OK, that’s a lot. I would love to contribute to your program ongoingly.

  20. […] Someone I’ve heard of put an intriguing blog post on All Stressed Out, Nowhere To Go Eben Pagans BlogHere’s a quick excerptThere are simply too many factors that would have to be eliminated: 1) I am a caretaker for my elderly father – this causes a huge amount of stress, and is a tremendous burden; 2) I have a son in addiction recovery, which causes a great … […]

  21. Paul said, on December 28, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Hey Eben,

    Great idea, and you’d be both well placed and well qualified. I think your recent focus on eliminating distractions and single-focussing on the task / project at hand paves the way for a stress related program.

    We’re all suffering from too much information and a seeming lack of ability to focus on anything, and I’m convinced it’s the main source of stress these days. We never stay ‘in one place’, we’re all over the shop and so we never fully engage, we never ‘go deep’ on stuff. So we’re left with a sense of non completion, which equals stress.

    Well, that’s my 5c worth!

    I reckon you’re on a winner Eben, looking forward to the product.

    Cheers, Paul

  22. reyalP said, on December 29, 2008 at 12:24 am

    I’d be VERY interested in this.

    Books like “How to Stop Worrying & Start Living” have always been especially interesting to me.

    Whatever you do PLEASE don’t make a product about EFT tapping! 🙂

  23. Atul Rana said, on December 29, 2008 at 5:04 am

    I’d highly recommend Tim Ferris’s “4 hour week” book when it comes to stress busting and living a new lifestyle. It’s amazing when I travel to places across the world and I find that often the “poorest” people seem to have the least amount of stress!

  24. Ben Curtis said, on December 29, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Eben, you have to read “Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life” by Thich Nhat Hanh –

    And check out what I recently wrote about reducing stress from family members and getting back from stress-crashes:


  25. Jason said, on December 29, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Hey Eben, I think that would be a great program, and a great idea.

    Managing our stresses, emotions, and behavior patterns is of utmost importance.

    Without being able to properly manage these causes, how can we manage anything else?

    This program could be very valuable. Definitely shoot for 90 days, keep up your easy payment plans, and have the price sit around 97-297 dollars, and I’m in.

    Oh, one more thing, I would really love if you covered health, Your approach, what you have learned, how to extend ones life, and stay consistent. For me that would be most valuable. Setting up proper dieting, staying with it, knowing when to change. How to eat for energy, and sustain that energy.


  26. Mugendi said, on December 29, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Hi Eben,
    I think think this program would be great! You should definately refer to James Ray’s Harmonic Wealth program where he talks about the 5 pillars of wealth: Financial, Mental, Physical, Spiritual and Relational.
    Looking forward to the videos. As per the Price, I am a student and I’m biased in saying I’d pay max $50 for anything..
    MZ – Worcester MA

  27. Nick Hetcher said, on December 29, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Hey Eben,

    I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND!! See, I had 2 heart attacks at a young age and know stress. That is one of the primary reason I started http://www.TwitterBreak.com (as you will see). It IS my passion, brother!!!

    Nick “Nix” Hetcher (host of NixTheNews)

  28. Rob Scott said, on December 29, 2008 at 1:01 pm


    I’d love to contribute to your program ongoingly as well (ibid nathan otto). Currently working on my own offering in this space (not yet live http://StressGenius.com).

    One of the main problems I see in this space is that most of the offering are in the area of stress relief only (i.e. relax, take a bath, meditate, etc.). But that doesn’t change the structures that caused the stress to begin with.

    A comprehensive program would cover a wider area of need. To model your inner game / outer game framework, we would need to change how we interpret our world (the inner game), and how we affect our world (the outer game). And lastly how we deal with the nowness of stress (mediation, wiggle your toes, etc.)

    Changing how we interpret our world includes belief changes, mindset changes, visualization, etc. How we attack the outside world includes productivity, goal setting and other external changes. And again lastly, when we can change neither our internal nor our external world, we then learn to accept the moment…

    Would love to help you in this endeavor in any way possible (offer talks, promotion, whatever).

    Be well… Rob

  29. Dalibor said, on December 29, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Hi Eben, I think this is a really great idea!
    You have a very clear and impactful presentation style that will help many to get the message.

    I am a professional counselor helping people to overcome their life challenges and achieve a state of health, well-being, success and happiness. I use a highly effective holistic approach that is outside of the mainstream, and isl grounded in the latest “new” science as well as time proven ancient metaphysical knowledge. The methodology I use is partially based on the work of others, and on my own discoveries and development.

    Surprisingly for most of my clients, it is actually not very difficult to be stress free. Essentially what is required is a change-of-state of functioning, rather then trying to deal with each single issue separately. It is about a shift in the state of mind toward clean thinking, letting go of past traumas/dramas, positive attitude, and a higher level of consciousness (spiritual connection).

    With the right strategy, techniques and actions it can be easy and fun to do.

    Currently I am myself working on a similar program you are envisioning (different delivery, though).

    If you are interested in more details of what I do, please get in touch with me. I would share some of my discoveries.


  30. Jay said, on December 29, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I personally suffer from lots of stress, maybe even ptsd. This could prove to me an interesting way to recover from this ‘life killer’, as i havent really lived too much life lately. Its so incredibly debilitating that it has nearly brought my personal and professional life to a grinding halt. So much of what you teach seems so far away from me at the moment,
    not even sure if i should post this.

  31. gerry said, on December 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    The idea of relieving stress is a good one but I suspect that the reason people are so stressed is because thye feeling of stress plays a role in their understanding of ‘life’ Stress is a state of ‘not being at rest’ internally and this can be for a number of reasons not least our own expectations. Instinctually we are created to exert ourselves to be secure in our person, harvest food and construct shelter and use the sex instinct primarily for the continuation of the human race. When the instincts are ‘out of joint’ these cause man all the emotional troubles he/she experiences. To go through life in a state of emotional demand, causes a continual state of discontent or if you like stress. Anything that threatens the satisfaction of our instincts causes us stress. The problem is that man believes that to return to a state of inner peace, then one must satisfy him/herself instinctually. The problem is that an appetite can never be satisfied though a disciplined instinct like hunger can. The relief of stress comes when we detach from the incessant drive of our instincts and live in the moment. There we will find inner security and contentment. So self discipline is the key to inner peace. Unfortunately we in the Western world are indoctrinated with the idea that the satisfaction of our instincts will come with another push of the will or the conquering of outer circumstances. Experience shows this is a falacy. My personal struggle with addiction has taught me that inner peace can only come when we are willing to give up our imperious urges. Addiction in its purest form is a complete lack of self discipline and once the sufferer becomes willing to live without the drug of their choice they are in recovery. This willingness brings about an inner change whereby the ‘need’ for the drug is transmuted and the sufferer undergoes a fundamental personality change. This principle can be applied to all situations that cause stress. The sufferer must become willing to do without the circumstances that are causing the stress, be it an intense need for financial or emotional security.(sex,power and money). Initially the stress levels will soar but will quickly settle down and the person will experience inner security and peace.
    The trick is in getting people to ‘let go’ of the inner drives which are stressing them because the stress itself as well as doing something to them is also doing something for them.

  32. Ken said, on December 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Isn’t stress just conflict, two opposing forces glued together one part can’t one part must? By removing one pole the other side can flow. Doesn’t just realizing this enable the afflicted to see the core as just a situation (perhaps a bad situation)? I once tried to motivate my small son into doing something by using the “I betcha you can’t do that..” method, he answered “you’re probably right” and that was the end. He simply chose not to accept the challenge nor the stress of doing something he didn’t want to do. Sometimes we get into situations where the choices are between the Titanic or Hindenburg. When this happens help is needed. Establish a concept that would be more ideal and work toward it, the forward progress will reduce the “stress”.

  33. Fee Gentry said, on December 29, 2008 at 3:22 pm


    This is a “multibillion” dollar idea! But most of all an opportunity to help the # 1 lifestyle killer on the planet! So the answer your question, Yes, this is absolutely a project worth investing your time and attention into. We as a society need this product now more than ever in today’s stress induced environment. And I truly believe that you have the innate gifts and talents to bring it to fruition. God is calling you. ANSWER!!

    A video/audio series format similiar to that of Wake Up Productive seems like the best delivery.. I suggest that you improve the video/audio quality so that listeners can be fully engaged. My thoughts are that 30-60 days seems more palatable than 90 days. Why? People that suffer from stress need “FAST Results” , much like the weight loss population. If they don’t get quick relief, the chances of them quitting the program increases or requesting a a refund increases.

    If you are thinking of conducting some research and need some bodies…I would probably consider myself to be your # 1 prototype…40 year old, Single, African American Female, over educated, under-employed, flailing entrerpreneur,with a bad case of burn out…did I mention I have ADD? (LOL). Seriously, if you have some content you would like to test I’d be glad to help.

    When I am most stressed out I go to a book by Melodie Beattie entitled ” The Language of Letting Go”. It’s a book for recovery, which in essence is what your program is about. Check it out I think you’ll be impressed.

    Pricing? It costs between $50-$250 per session to see a therapist or Psychiatrist. Then, medication costs anywhere from $20-$200/month. So you are looking at $650/mo average for traditional care. If your program was priced between $300-$600 it would be a steal on a 60 day program.

    So there’s my two cents. hope it helps.

    Fee Gentry,

  34. Heather Bestel said, on December 29, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    A program like this will be invaluable. I am a psychotherapist and stress management consultant working with mainly stressed out executives and business owners trying to hold it all together.
    Please check my stuff out at my website and email me for a sample of what I’m doing to help people rid themselves of stress. Anxiety and worry are on the increase and stress really is a killer. Anything we can do in this area is so worthwhile. Together we can all make a difference.
    Best wishes

  35. Eduardo said, on December 29, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Hi Eben, so far you have done no wrong in my life! really all i can get from you im certain now its a good and sustainable investment of my money and time! in every training YOU DO! really, right now im off to become mr right! and so far WOW! i cant put the damn thing aside!

    I have very bad issues with stress and worry, consider me in as soon as you make your mind about it!

    By the way i was on the first Wake Up Productive generation as well! and sincerely i didnt follow it as much i would like to, but the ones i did follow change the way i work for good and forever

    thank you and may you have an even more wonderful year to come because i know if you keep having good years and keep sharing your insights and discoveries about them, i would definitely no doubt about it have wonderful years too because your my mentor.



  36. Jason James said, on December 29, 2008 at 4:57 pm


    Awesome idea here!

    I could use something like this, and if the price is reasonable I would definitely by it.

    Also great work on the blog. I didn’t know you had a blog until recently, it’s been bookmarked and I’ll come back to it daily.

  37. Home Remedies said, on December 29, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Over the short term, stress can be an effective path to completing a deadline, winning a competition or handling an emergency. Over the long term, the effects of stress become much more devastating to your physical and emotional health, resulting in headaches, digestive disorders and depression. This is where stress management comes into play, and learning effective techniques can make the difference between coping with events and situations in a healthy way or letting those same situations control you. Stress management is rarely about taking a pill. It is more a matter of lifestyle changes that will contribute to better health no matter what life may throw at you.

  38. Craig said, on December 29, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Sounds lovely. I often don’t think of myself as “stressed” but I think it definitely does manifest in a few of the examples you mention. definitely a hot market these days. $297 like WakeUp (which is packed with value) would be fine, but something around $100 would definitely be my tipping point. While not a specialist per se, I personally like the teachings of Wayne Dyer and find most of his stuff “enlightening”. kutgw & all the best!

  39. Marta L. said, on December 29, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Stress is overrated. All we need is Love.

  40. tony schwartz said, on December 29, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Stress is the only means by which we expand functional capacity. The enemy is not stress; it’s the absence of intermittent recovery. The way we grow and develop is by pushing past our comfort zones. Think about weight training: you push a muscle to failure and if you then allow time for renewal, it grows bigger. Stress as it’s commonly understood is a 70s concept. I’m gonna be the sole vote for looking for something else to invest your energy in — or to think very differently about how to do what you have in mind.

  41. Andy said, on December 29, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Hi Eben,

    I like a lot what you are doing.

    An amazing book you might not know, because it’s written by german authors is “simplify your life” from Küstenmacher and Seiwert.

    Especially Lothar Seiwert has written several books about time- and self-management which deals with stress.

    Maybe you wanna check these out.

    Have fun doing your program. I’m looking forward to all the stuff you have to offer too :).

    All the best,


  42. Julie Kademiya said, on December 29, 2008 at 6:47 pm


    Through my travels I had found that American’s are the most stressed individuals on earth. The pace in other countries, especially in Europe is more relaxed, with long lunch breaks, and therefore employees come back to work focused on the rest of the day.

    America’s corporate structure does not allow for long lunch breaks and is focused on productivity per hour. Employees are accustomed to cramming as much as possible into the work day, and therefore at the end of the day we leave work exhausted and dreading the next day at work.

    Studies have found that the happier an individual is at work the more that individual accomplishes during their work day. This happiness correlates directly with the amount of stress that individual encounters during the day. Stress and productivity are directly correlated, and I believe that needs to be one of the main ideas in your book. Every self-help book I had encountered does not stress this point enough, and it is disappointing that the author does not mention this correlation.

    You asked what do we want to achieve by reducing stress? I believe that achievement comes in producing balance in our daily lives. People want to have the time for family, social outings, exercise, etc. since stress has side effects, such as body aches, headaches, depression; we are too busy treating these symptoms instead of doing the activities we want. A husband may come home after a stressful day, take an Advil and go to bed, when he could have spent that time with his kids and family members. Stress symptoms also cause some people to become anti-social, and dive even deeper into the work dungeon. More work, less play. To reduce stress, balance must also be achieved between work and leisure.

    I believe that many Eastern influences play a huge role when it comes to stress. Instead of taking a Percocet to deal with our stressful life, we need to step outside of the Western world of medicine and approach Eastern physicians and stress relieve practices who believe in a body in a state of “chi” or body balance. Breath work, acupuncture, meditation, music, time with family, and ultimately leisure are all the best remedies that the Eastern world recommends, and these remedies must be incorporated into our Western society. After work drinks at a local bar and Yoga on the weekends is simply not enough, these practices need to be a part of our daily life to achieve balance between work and leisure.

  43. Sean McAde said, on December 29, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    I’m not sure that your three areas of stress fit the factors that I have experienced.
    Or maybe they do.
    Physical stress is tension: Mental, emotional, or nervous strain: working under great tension to make a deadline.
    Personally I had stated that I would be a millionaire by the time a I was thirty. I’m now fifty two and not a millionaire. Yes it caused a lot of stress for the past twenty two years. and the five years from twenty five to thirty were difficult. Real difficult. Perhaps causing me to accept the fact that I had failed. So why not drink and just accept my fate? Causing more tension!
    Emotional stress is: A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a realistic or fantasized threatening event or situation, often impairing physical and psychological functioning.
    Yes my emotions allowed me to be uncertain of anything and most everything. I made decisions based on the uncertainties that might occur. And many of them did occur.
    Mental stress is: To proceed doggedly in the face of difficulty or hardship; struggle: worried along at the problem.
    Yes I have been concerned and troubled by what has happened. Those unnamed thoughts became real.

    These stresses have made me into what I have been and what I am. I look forward to moving beyond them with new actions that have allowed me to move beyond some of them. If only slightly. I am moving.


  44. Joe Thomas said, on December 29, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Stress seems like a daily task for me, I really am a giving person and if there were a way to meditate, note on it, build on that, and progressively manifest your understandings into a permanent reprogramming that could really set people free into their desired reality that would be the route I would want to take.

    I follow ALL of you guys for a lot of my day and I just want to be able to build a foundation into something tangible more quickly so I don’t have to worry about making things work and can spend more time with my 4 kids.

    I feel like I’m looking in the right place until I spend a lot of time and continue to fail to get the ball rolling, I can’t seem to get out of first gear.

  45. Dan said, on December 29, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Stress is a force that can be both positive and negative… ex: the mother who used the power of ‘stress’ to lift the car and save her child. The people who experience the most ‘stress’ are the people at the top of their fields (top surgeons, fortune 500 CEOs etc) but their reaction to stress is different… they don’t fear it, they embrace it as a chance to do their best…

  46. Christian said, on December 29, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Hey Eben,

    All three types of stress are the same. Worry, anxiety, and physical tension are all caused by feelings that people aren’t willing to face and feel through. Avoidance of uncomfortable emotions causes physical tension.

    Ultimately all of this “stress” is a result of not being present and allowing ourselves to FEEL what needs to be felt.

    The cure to stress is to learn to be present and make it a practice until it becomes a way or being.

  47. Ron Reed said, on December 29, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Currently reading Dale Carnegie’s “How To Stop Worrying and Start Living”.

    GREAT book! Highly recommend to anyone interesting in getting their life back.

    Eben, I hope you take some of the core principles from this book.

  48. debijones said, on December 29, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    I think any training related to stress reduction would be a Great idea and the timing could not be better!
    People have so much going on in their lives today, rushing here and there,
    which definitely adds to the stress level. And if that is not stressful enough for you
    just turn on the tv and watch the news!!

    Take Care!

  49. christine said, on December 29, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    AWESOME idea, and you’s probably make a mint on it, lol! How much to charge? Not sure, lotta factors involved… Intensity, ? day program, what’s involved, only you can set a price on that. I’d like to know when it’s done, lol! For how many books I’ve bought on it, I’d love to do one stop shopping!

  50. Milton said, on December 29, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    This site may be helpful>www.alexmandossian.com

  51. Dennis said, on December 29, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Stress is killing most of us, and getting worse every day.

    I think you have a great idea here!

    Sign me up!


  52. NORMAN ATTERBURY said, on December 30, 2008 at 12:15 am

    Excellent idea, fortunately I hardly ever suffer from stress, but I know that the majority of people do. I am rereading “Your Best Life Now” by Joel Osteen. An excellent book that you could probably use for added material to your course.


  53. Amy Flynn ~ allaboutenergy said, on December 30, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Hi Eben!

    I think it’s a great idea! Just don’t make the price so high so it causes stress to those that want to get it! 😉

    You said:

    The way I’m thinking of it right now, over-exposure to “negative stress” manifests itself in our 3 “human realms” – physically, emotionally, and mentally.

    * Physical stress manifests as tension
    * Emotional stress manifests as anxiety
    * Mental stress manifests as worry


    Negative stress is a perception. Stress is neither negative or positive. (Giving birth is stressful – yet it is viewed as joyful and desirable) What is perceived as negative stress is just a situation that is not to the individual’s liking because they have an attachment to it being otherwise. Then they resist “what is” (the situation) on all levels, emotional, mental and physical. (the realization of this and the awareness of this mechanism GREATLY reduces if not eliminates stress in the individual)

    Now to clarify further:
    Mental stress manifests as emotional stress (worry AND other things, depression, anger, hopelessness, helplessness,) Emotional stress manifests as Physical stress (illness, tension in the body, pains, aches, chronic conditions, severe to mild illness and disability)

    All illness is emotional stress that is repressed, buried and not expressed or allowed expression. All mental stress is not allowing that which is and going with the flow (pushing the rock up the hill mentally). The only stand alone physical stress is injury – and usually that is a result of an unfocused or distracted mind that is not fully aware in the moment.

    So you see you can not address the areas of stress as separate, they are intertwined and completely interconnected!

    Be happy to share more in depth with you so this program really can deliver what it promises. I follow you on twitter –
    Please follow me back at

    Peace and Reduced Stress for All!


  54. elsaleon said, on December 30, 2008 at 9:35 am

    I’m stressed with my start up and not with personal life even though my wife is my partner in the business. What is the magic formula to keep it this way

  55. Jon said, on December 30, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    An useful site with Stress info:

    TTC also has a course called “Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality”

    Some ideas about neurological plasticity as well as the whole ‘us-us’, ‘us-them’ mechanism referred to in the book “why we hate” by Rush Dozier.

    Table of contents for the TTC course:
    1. Biology and Behavior—An Introduction
    2. The Basic Cells of the Nervous System
    3. How Two Neurons Communicate
    4. Learning and Synaptic Plasticity
    5. The Dynamics of Interacting Neurons
    6. The Limbic System
    7. The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
    8. The Regulation of Hormones by the Brain
    9. The Regulation of the Brain by Hormones
    10. The Evolution of Behavior
    11. The Evolution of Behavior—Some Examples
    12. Cooperation, Competition, and Neuroeconomics
    13. What Do Genes Do? Microevolution of Genes
    14. What Do Genes Do? Macroevolution of Genes
    15. Behavior Genetics
    16. Behavior Genetics and Prenatal Environment
    17. An Introduction to Ethology
    18. Neuroethology
    19. The Neurobiology of Aggression I
    20. The Neurobiology of Aggression II
    21. Hormones and Aggression
    22. Early Experience and Aggression
    23. Evolution, Aggression, and Cooperation
    24. A Summary

    Hope some of this helps you put together an awesome program.

  56. Jon said, on December 30, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Also one more point:

    Otto Nathan said -> ““Transform your response to stress to be happy in any situation!” It’s the difference between immature avoidance strategies doomed to failure because shit happens, and real transformation.

    And Tony Schwartz said -> “The enemy is not stress; it’s the absence of intermittent recovery. The way we grow and develop is by pushing past our comfort zones.”

    Well…wouldn’t it be counter intuitive and kind of a paradox if you could INTEGRATE the two ideas?

    Ask the question: How can you be ‘calm’ in a ‘stressful’ situation?

    I think the answer to a lot of issues lies in that question.

  57. Jon said, on December 30, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    One last possible question…invert the question and ask:
    “How can you make yourself ‘stressed’ when you’re ‘calm’?”

    Then simply invert the ideas again that you get from answering and realize how you create stress and how you create calm.

    So solution based:
    “If you had to, How can you be ‘calm’ when you’re ‘stressed’?”
    Cause based:
    “If you had to, How can you be ‘stressed’ when you’re ‘calm’?”

    Integrate the two – and realize that there’s some interesting things you discover from the paradox.

  58. Ash said, on December 30, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    I think this is a wonderful idea. Like you said, there are a host of issues that cause stress. For me it was having to make a huge change in my life. The change was unwelcomed and the stress that came with it wreaked havoc on my emotional and physical state.
    I learned to deal with it through yoga, meditation and reading about Buddhist teachings. Not saying I am some kind of devout Buddhist or to make this training into some kind of spiritual path, but some of the things I have read inspired me to examine myself and really get know me. Getting to know myself helped me identify stress and to learn from life’s difficulties. “Letting Go of The Person You Used to be” is something I read often.
    Making sense of the chaos and creating a sort of peace within is invaluable. A price would depend on your target market…if it is for everyone it cannot be too expensive or you will find most people heading to the bookstore’s self help section or using the free stress management services offered by some employers.
    Good luck with your project!

  59. Helen Silver-Goldstein said, on December 30, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    How deep down the rabbit-hole do you wanna go, Darling?

  60. Los Angeles Personal Trainer Leon Lavigne said, on December 30, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Hey Eben, As a person who deals with his own life stresses and helps other cope with them on a day to day basis, Ive basically come down to this conclusion: some people handle stress well and do things to help them cope with it, and others just choose to live in it because thats all they know (or even WANT to know in some cases).

    As you probably already know: exercise is the best way to cope with physical, mental and emotional stress. Once youve worked out at least 30 minutes for a few days in a row, the body has enough “built in” functions that take care of the rest of the problem.

    If you are interested in a “stress relieving” fitness program (ok that sounds a little weird…but you get the picture.) that includes: seminars, books, videos etc… I’m your man!

    Leon Lavigne
    Beverly Hills Fitness Group, Inc.

  61. […] All Stressed Out, Nowhere To Go « Eben Pagan’s Blog Share and Enjoy: […]

  62. Ronaye Ireland said, on December 31, 2008 at 1:17 am

    Hmmm … interesting topic. You certainly wouldn’t catch my attention if you started on fitness programs, meditation, eating right etc. They just don’t get to the root of it for me. But somehow I don’t think that would be your approach 😉 I realise that there are many different types and levels of stress. Many niches within one huge one.

    I’m certainly no psychologist, but I do love delfing into the depths of being. Over the past six years I’ve dealt with plenty of stress and of varying kinds. Anything from being overworked and under appreciated at a regular day job that nearly sent me down a path of addiction, managing a large construction project, major unpredictabilities when dealing with the weather and trades, a tough accident, dealing with the public in a service industry, divorce, finances, just to name a few. Stress has expressed itself through me in many forms, whether that’s anxiety, overwhelm, exhaustion, anger, frustration, impatience, losing power etc.

    What I have learned over time is that the answers all lie inside of me. I have to trust myself. Listen to my self. Be true to myself. Know that I can get myself through anything if I just put my mind to it. I had to learn to trust the universe that things would turn out fine if I allowed it to. That certain things weren’t worth fighting over because it would’ve killed the relationship. That I had to let go of things very dear to me to allow them to come back to me. I also learned to identify what caused the stress and then redirect my energy to actions that would leave me feeling in a place where I still had power until the time would come to deal with the undealt. I’ve learned to stop fighting the impossible and instead trust the universe that the right time or answer will come. And it does, without fail. I’ve learned to be an excellent listener to my intuition. I’ve learned to reconnect to the earth and feel its energy. For me dealing with stress has everything to do with how well I know me. How one part of me takes care of another. How well I can let go. How I can be my best friend. That it’s ok to express my stress because I’ll bounce back faster. One of the things I have come to realise over the last year as well is how much stress I can expose myself to because someone disrespects my values and boundaries. And then what happens when things really just become too much to handle? Now what? Dealing with stress is a fascinating journey and I still have a long way to go. Though I’ve come far.

    I had to think of stories I’ve read from people surviving POW camps against all odds. I remember them talking about their believes and the strength they were able to build up inside. What kept them sane through the shear horror. The only person they could rely on to get them through was themselves. I can’t imagine the stress they were dealing with, but I think I can relate to some of the mental and emotional shifts that happen inside.

    So, when I think about a program dealing with stress, for me it would have to teach how to strengthen the inner person. How to gain the ability to trust the universe and have faith. How to let go of attachments. How to re-connected with earth. And how each of these are intrinsically connected. It’s a complex process. You can intellectualize and understand the objectives. But you haven’t really found that place until the emotions and feelings have joined in. If people could be helped to really find that place inside, I believe the world overall would become a pretty friendly place. If that inner peace could be achieved, that would be so very cool.

  63. Barbara Rosson said, on December 31, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Hi Eben,
    One of the greatest stress busters I’ve ever experienced is Hale Dwoskin’s SEDONA METHOD. It’s an extremely effective way to get to the mental root of whatever is bothering you and disconnect from it emotionally. (Isn’t it the emotional state that perpetuates the whole dis-ease cycle?)
    I’ve been doing the trainings and I really think it can save the world from the world.
    It’s so simple once you learn it it becomes habit. You just let go of stuff!
    Hale’s website is sedona.com.
    Let me know what you think.

  64. lindy said, on December 31, 2008 at 11:53 am

    I have read your intro blog post and skimmed the nearly 60+ comments.

    Clearly, people respect your opinion and want to hear what you have to say. Also, people want to feel connected to you in some way, they find it important if you consider what they are to say, and many offer to join you in your quest to help put together a program to help people eliminate negative stress.

    Coming from being a teen in the 70’s, everything was diagnosed as being cause by stress. By the 90’s no one wanted to hear that anymore, especially from doctors. So as researching began uncovering the workings of cells and DNA (genetic coding) and brain activity could actually been seen in color pictures, doctors began identifying what in our DNA/cellular level caused physical, emotional, mental disorders.

    Now I am seeing a big swing back to stress in the past few years. Seems like a new concept to many, but I have already lived through “stress” being the end all answer to every problem.

    What is interesting is that there is truly, “nothing no under the sun.” (quote by one of the wisest man and ruler ever to live- Solomon).

    Why are we so stress? We are not living the way we were created to live. We are trying to find the answer within ourselves or many someone who we trust or consider wiser, more knowledgeable or maybe more experienced.

    The answer to living stress free is simple, and because of this it will not be followed, but tossed away as folly. There is no one to three (four, five, six, etc.) step for everyone to follow like we are a bunch of cookie-cut people…one program or plan fits all.

    Stress comes from not living in a right relationship with God and others. Jesus summed it up when He said that all could be summed up in two thoughts (mindsets): 1) Love your Lord with all your mind, soul and might, 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. And this is not a two step program, it is a constant moment by moment way to live life!

    But this advice is free, and it really doesn’t need to be packaged as a program, and it is kinda old/ archaic/ old-fashion, so it doesn’t need to be taught…. because it is a relationship. Does someone need to teach you how to get to know other?

    Everyone wants inner peace. Sure to disconnect emotionally you would not longer free the stress, but you would also be not relating or living. You want to strengthen your inner self, strengthen your relationship with Jesus.

    We will never be able to stop stressors, but we can learn how to live in and through them, and even allow them to help us to be better people within.

  65. karyn Sivyer said, on January 2, 2009 at 7:20 am

    Hi Eben
    I think that the answer to stress is looking within! We have to remember to stop!!…at least 30mins a day and speak to our higher selves…just that act of stopping makes stress dissolve…how about a meditation? that would be a definite goer for me …thanks
    Karyn 🙂

  66. karyn Sivyer said, on January 2, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Can I just add that I loved the letter from Ronaye Ireland ..that is exactly what I wanted to say… all the answers lie within …we just have to stop long enough to listen to our inner voice and take inspired action
    thanks Karyn 🙂

  67. Wil Dieck said, on January 3, 2009 at 3:35 pm


    I think you are right on. I have found that stress, smoking and being overweight are the three biggest culprits contributing to poor health today. They are certainly the three biggest reasons people come to me for hypnotherapy.

    As far as creating a course for stress relief it might be a viable venture. Although I’ve found that stress is a very wide niche, people affected by it want to have working strategies to be able to cope with and tame it.

    Wishing you only success…

  68. Lindy Royer said, on January 4, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Hi Eben,

    Great topic. I teach and work in the body/mind arena these days and I can tell you that emotional, physical and spiritual/psychic stress is a huge contributor to pain – on all levels. There’s stress in our lives these days, but when was this NOT the case? Stress is pair of our instinct to survive – without it we’d be dead.

    I’d like to point out that stress not only comes from the outside (family, work, even recreation), but from within. Our reaction to what’s happening to us. None of this is new of course…the answer lies within ourselves.

    The biggest component for me in recent years has been working through the stress that’s no longer there – the voice-loop that repeats hurtful words, the video that replays past stressful events, the constant habit of re-creating failure. It’s as if no time has passed between the event in the past and the present moment. And the physical reaction to these past events does not become dampened by time. All the old responses are still there.

    One method that I’ve found that helps turn down the volume on these old tapes is called EFT. It stands for Emotional Freedom Technique and is a form of “emotional acupuncture”. You’ve probably heard of it – it falls under the category of energy psychology and anyone can apply it.

    There are two resources I’d recommend for you to check out:

    http://www.emofree.com, which has tons of articles and information, and http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HealingMagic&view=videos – lots of videos to see the technique in action.

    Thanks for all you do.

  69. Joe Bliss said, on January 5, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Eben, You said “go wild in the comments”. Be careful what you wish for…

    Q: What do you think?
    A: Great concept. But figuring out how to deliver tangible results would be the challenge in designing the program.

    Q: Would you invest in a program like this one?
    A: Yes. But, it would naturally depend on perceived value vs. price.

    Q: What do you think the right PRICE would be for it?
    A: 90-days, $297 absolute maximum.

    Comments for previous commenters:


    Tidbit 1: I agree with your point about reciprocal care and affection with fellow human beings.

    Tidbit 2: I agree with your “expand the comfort zone” and “expand physiological flexibility” idea. That concept is new to me and I would like to see that tactic further developed and/or explained in the program if it proves to be sufficiently relevant and feasible.

    Tidbit 4: Great comment about “hot-reactors”. I think there could be an important relation here to a certain “test” in the dating arena (David D. might know what I mean). Learning how NOT to immediately react to stressors and to defend your calm and collected disposition could be an integral part of stress management. Not letting anyone or anything mess with your psychological equilibrium would be a great skill to develop. Maybe an obvious point, but worth mentioning.

    Q: Do you have any recommendations of books, audio programs or videos I should reference to add to my own experience? Any tips of your own? Any key thinkers in this area I might not know about?



    Maxwell Maltz’s Psycho-Cybernetics

    In one part of the book, Maltz (I think) has an analogy where he relates the potential for an unwanted emotional reaction to that of a ringing telephone. In the book, he recommends certain strategies and tactics to help people practice NOT answering the “phone” when an unwanted psychological activator is “calling”. I was reminded of this from the “hot-reactors” comment above. I think this “ringing telephone analogy” is from Maltz but I am not 100% sure–I could be wrong, as I have not read it in a long time. Regardless, many stress management (and other personal development) techniques are put forward by Maltz in the book. It’s a classic that many people have probably already read.

    Robert Fritz’s The Path of Least Resistance

    Eben has quoted from this book before but it is worth mentioning in this light: At the end of the day people too often “react” to a problem when they should, instead, “create” a new solution to replace, or structurally alter, the issue at hand. I think the book’s basic message is this: be a creator not a reactor! Doesn’t get any simpler than that. And it’s also easier said than done. But, perhaps some specific guidance or examples in the program about how to successfully create your way through stressful scenarios (instead of reacting your way though them) could be valuable part of the course.

    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience

    Essentially, the book explains that you are not stressed when you are in a state of “flow”; a complete absorption into the activity at hand. You can find “flow” at work, in recreation and at home. This is an outstanding book on how to find and immerse yourself in optimal activities that help to reduce bad stress and/or increase good stress. The New York Times says (from the cover), “Flow is important…The way to happiness lies not in mindless hedonism, but in mindful challenge.” There is just too much valuable content in this book to even begin to summarize here. Suffice it to say that everyone needs to find “flow” activities. Here’s an excerpt:

    “Why are some people weakened by stress, while others gain strength from it? Basically the answer is simple: those who know how to transform a hopeless situation into a new ‘flow’ activity that can be controlled will be able to enjoy themselves, and emerge stronger from the ordeal. There are three main tests that seem to be involved in such transformations…”

    Perhaps an exercise on finding “flow” activities (they’re different for each person), or simply an explanation of what they are (including some examples), could be a valuable part of the program?

    David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

    David Whyte says, “To have a firm persuasion in our work—to feel that what we do is right for ourselves and good for the world at the same exact time—is one of the great triumphs of human existence.” If you dig that, then you’ll like to know that Whyte has hundreds more “deep thoughts” in his book on work and fulfillment. Despite the main point of his book, three rather minor points grabbed me and I want to share them with you:

    1.) His Joseph Campbell reference on page 156 is great: “The mythologist Joseph Campbell said something refreshing and radical when asked by an interviewer how an ordinary person could preserve his sense of the mythic when most feel too besieged by the little everyday claims of the bills and the mortgage. ‘You must have a place,’ answered Campbell, ‘to which you can go, in your head, your mind, or your house, almost every day, where you do not know what you owe anyone or what anyone owes you. You must have a place you can go to where you do not know what your work is or who you work for, where you do not know who you are married to or who your children are.’ Hearing this, our first reaction is to believe we are being pushed toward a form of self-absorption, but Campbell’s point is that most of us carry responsibility in a very selfish way, as a burden, a weight, something that diminishes us and makes us resentful of those for whom we are responsible. Campbell asks us to look for the part of us that is not beholden, that stands outside of our normal structures, particularly the structure of work that can lie on us so heavily, that take so much energy to carry, and that can break the blossoming fragility of anything new and promising.”

    In sum, if you are feeling “besieged”, then the recommendation is take a break and find an place of peace and quite, both literally and figuratively. Above any other tactic, I think this practice of finding your own personal retreat (whether in your head or elsewhere) is vital, and so is the recommendation to do this at least daily. I think this would be a good exercise in the stress management program. I think this idea of snapping out of “reality” and into a “constructive” place of personal reflection and external disconnection is also covered somewhere in Joseph Campbell’s Power of Myth DVDs, but I cannot remember for sure. Eben, in the Wake Up Productive program, talks about intentionally taking brief pauses during the day to “center yourself”; to collect your thoughts, to take a deep breath and to slow down in a “mindful” way. I think Campbell’s advice is very similar to Eben’s approach to getting “centered” and returning to a stable level of psychological “equilibrium”.

    2.) In seeming validation of Eben’s Wake Up Productive philosophy (i.e. the morning sets the entire tone for the rest of the day), Whyte writes, “The main point, whatever our outward circumstances, is to make the morning more of our own in one way or another, to start the particular courageous conversations that will place our mornings more on our own terms, to enable the morning once again to present something of an open vista rather than an immediate besiegement. Each of us has the possibility of making tiny changes that can to our surprise make huge differences in the first hours of our work, small changes that can open up a larger view once the will is there to make the morning a prelude to possibility rather than something that frightens us back into the same corner we had left just the previous day.”

    3.) Whyte also speaks to the value of Keats’ “Negative Capability”. The reason I bring this up is that Eben has touched on this in the past from a marketing/business standpoint (i.e. use the negative capability by shutting down your own biases in order to try and think like your customer and find out what their specific needs are). But Whyte recommends this negative capability in order to encourage us to escape from our own and others’ biases in order to gain a fresh perspective, unencumbered by previously “packaged revelations”. Whyte explains negative capability as an intentional acceptance of “uncertainty” and “mystery”; an intentional open-mindedness. Whyte, I think, believes that returning to the negative capability (which is commonly used by children as a mental model for exploration) is key to helping us find a proper means of freedom, expression and peace of mind, not only in our work, but everywhere. I think it is this “acceptance of uncertainty” or “negative capability” that will help to reduce stress. In other words, I think we must accept the path of the uncertain future for what it is. To fight uncertainty, to try to figure it out, and to try to control it, is potentially a huge waste of time and energy. The goal should be to accept the painful path of experiential discovery (i.e. paying our empirical dues) without cheating or trying to side-step the discomfort of discovery by using biases, unrestrained intuition, or outside opinion. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have goals for the future. This is to say that the negative capability, in my opinion, could help you when you encounter uncertainty or surprise along the path in pursuit of your goals.

    Maslow: A Theory of Human Motivation (paper).

    The hierarchy of needs, of course. Most people know about the concept already, but perhaps a brief overview would help those in the program orient themselves in terms of lower-order and higher-order needs. Understanding the spectrum of human satisfaction could help people prioritize their goals vis-à-vis their expectations.

    Charlie Munger’s The Psychology of Human Misjudgment (Speech at Harvard Law School (1995))

    Hands-down, this is one the best explanations of why we humans repeatedly make terrible decisions and have more misjudgments than we would like. If you enjoyed Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Influence and Persuasion, then you’ll enjoy this. Isn’t it true that every time you misjudge something, it causes you potentially massive levels of stress? How can unexpected outcomes (especially when we are convinced we are going to be right) not be stressful? Understanding these psychological “traps” is absolutely vital in helping to prevent catastrophic errors in judgment, and are thereby a means by which we can proactively reduce stressful and unexpected outcomes. (If you like Munger’s speech on this topic, the transcription of which you can find online via Google, then check out George Soros’ or Karl Popper’s comments on “fallibilism” in their respective written works). I think just exposing people to these inherent cognitive flaws helps to reduce stress during the decision-making processes. Besides, if the über-rich like Munger, Buffett and Soros study this stuff, maybe you should to. Knowing that we are often wrong (because of our inherent biases) helps us to manage our expectations (downward), avoid unnecessarily prolonged considerations (minimizing anxiety and analysis paralysis), and most importantly this understanding helps us to gamble more appropriately with life’s big decisions (never more than you can afford to lose).

    Dan Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness

    This book also discusses these types of cognitive peculiarities—those that may have helped us survive (literally) in the past, but which now keep us from being fulfilled in modern societies where decisions involving life-threatening scenarios (think: running from a tiger) are rare. After reading the book, I am of the opinion that happiness is largely based on our continual involvement with experiences that in some way “exceeds our own expectations”. Because of our cognitive biases (thanks to evolution) coupled with the complexities of the modern world, we tend to have an extremely difficult time in accurately predicting the future. Due to our inability to make accurate predictions, our future realities routinely end up “falling BELOW our expectations”, which causes general unhappiness and stressful emotional responses. Perhaps just being aware of our cognitive flaws will help us have more “realistic” expectations going forward. In other words, we need to “lower the bar” on some of our expectations. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be enthusiastic, optimistic, or take risks. It means that we should be able to take “better risks” and have a more “mature level of enthusiasm”, which could actually help to increase our chances for real success. Needless to say, achieving real success would encourage higher levels of rational optimism and authentic enthusiasm.

    Harvard Business Review’s The Making of an Expert (article) by Ericsson, Prietula, and Cokely.

    You may be able to acquire this article through HBR.com. The article basically says that experts and high achievers like Mozart, Tiger Woods, the Polgar sisters (chess champions) are made not born. The article further states that the two keys are “deliberate practice” and “finding the right coach”. The conclusion is that anyone can take a scientific approach to developing expertise and achieving excellence. But, I want to focus on the part of the articled regarding “finding the right coaches and mentors”. The article states that one of the main goals for the coach or mentor of a top-rate athlete, performer, leader, etc. is to help the top-performer figure out how to coach him or herself at some point in the future. It is this point that I think the program should cover if possible. What does the program participant do after the course is over? Any direction or guidance on how we can become our own coach in the area of stress management would be a worthwhile part of the program. (Perhaps the self-created meditation notes suggestion below would be an example of self-coaching). The article also gives a great example of how America’s quintessential entrepreneur, Benjamin Franklin, practiced self-coaching as a means of continual self-improvement.


    Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations

    Stoicism is Aurelius’ answer on how to deal when bad things happens. If you had to categorize the book, I think it’s obviously more of a personal philosophy than a treatise on psychology. The book is a collection of meditations or “notes to self” that Aurelius wrote for himself over his life so that he could continually study these notes in private. His comments are based on topics that include family, war, friendship, happiness, life, death, etc. Some scholars think that Aurelius never meant for the material to be published. Essentially, Aurelius believes in a purely stoic temperament, which seeks to devalue passion and emotion in favor of a strict adherence to logic and reason. While pure stoicism is probably not going to be a reasonable alternative for most people, the stoic philosophy does offer some hard-hitting, no-nonsense advice on how to deal with the trials and tribulations of life. Here are some excerpts:

    “Book 2:1 When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but of the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.”

    “Book 8:34 Have you ever seen a severed hand or foot, or a decapitated head, just lying somewhere for away from the body it belonged to…? That’s what we do to ourselves—or try to—when we rebel against what happens to us, when we segregate ourselves. Or when we do something selfish. You have torn yourself away from unity—your natural state, one you were born to share in. Now you’ve cut yourself off from it. But you have an advantage here: you can reattach yourself. A privilege God has granted to no other part of no other whole—to be separated, cut away, and reunited. But look how he’s singled us out. He’s allowed us to return, to graft ourselves back on, and take up our old position once again: part of a whole.”

    “Book 8:51 …They kill you, cut you with knives, shower you with curses, And that somehow cuts your mind off from clearness, and sanity, and self-control and justice? A man standing by a spring of clear, sweet water and cursing it. While the fresh water keeps on bubbling up. He can shovel mud into it, or dung, and the stream will carry it away, wash itself clean and remain unstained. To have that. Not a cistern but perpetual spring. How? By working to win your freedom. Hour by hour. Through patience, honesty and humility.”

    “Book 10:3 Everything that happens is either endurable or not. If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining. If it’s unendurable…then stop complaining. Your destruction will mean its end as well. Just remember you can endure anything your mind can make endurable, by treating it as in your interest to do so. In your interest, or in your nature.”

    I think a brief review of the stoic philosophy (or its core tenets) in the program could offer an alternative point-of-view and a reminder on how to be more rational (i.e. to think more logically) in times when we experience emotional distress–make rational thought more of a habit. Also, it could be a good exercise for people to create their own personalized book (or a few pages) of personal “meditations”, similar to Aurelius’, to which they can refer in times if stress. If that exercise was good enough for a Roman Emperor, then perhaps it might be a good option for you too. Just an idea. (These “meditations” should NOT consist of cheesy affirmations. They should be your thoughts on how to rationally deal with both the pleasing and painful “realities” of life—basically, your personal thoughts and experiences (in your own words) on how to keep an even keel).

    Lao-Tzu’s Tao Te Ching (via Dyer’s Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life)

    I am not a huge fan of Wayne Dyer, but his interpretation of the Tao is pretty decent. The Tao Te Ching is an ancient Eastern “book of wisdom” that contains thoughts on the ultimate “way of life”. Just like Sun Tzu’s Art of War, reading the Tao Te Ching’s direct translation without interpretive commentary can be somewhat limiting, because the material in its original form can be a bit too abstract. Dyer’s explanations by each verse of the Tao, while at times distractingly (and irritatingly) over the top in the touchy-feely department, are helpful in deciphering the true meaning of the Tao’s messages.

    Some sections of the Tao can directly help in stress management because the ideas put forth in the book provide the reader with a “greater understanding” of how life’s opposites (i.e. calmness vs. stress, sickness vs. health, etc.) are necessary but manageable parts of the whole. Here are some excerpts from the Tao Te Ching (without Dyer’s explanations):

    On living calmly (26th verse)… “The heavy is the root of light. The still is the master of unrest. Realizing this, the successful person is poised and centered in the midst of all activities; although surrounded by opulence, he is not swayed. Why should the lord of the country flit about like a fool? If you let yourself be blown to and fro, you lose touch with your root. To be restless is to lose one’s self-mastery.”

    On living self-mastery (33rd verse)… “One who understands others has knowledge; one who understands himself has wisdom. Mastering others requires force; mastery the self needs strength. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich. One who gives himself to his position surely lives long. One who gives himself to the Tao surely lives forever.”

    On living without difficulty (63rd verse)… “Practice nonaction. Work without doing. Taste the tasteless. Magnify the small, increase the few. Reward bitterness with care. See simplicity in the complicated. Achieve greatness in little things. Take on difficulties while they are still small. The sage does not attempt anything very big, and thus achieves greatness. If you agree too easily, you will be little trusted; because the sage always confronts difficulties, he never experiences them.”

    On living without sickness (71st verse)… “Knowing ignorance is strength. Ignoring knowledge is sickness. Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick. The sage is not sick but is sick of sickness; this is the secret to health.”

    There’s a fair amount of “wisdom” within the words of the Tao. So, perhaps it could be a good resources in terms of gaining a “higher understanding” of some of the different “stressors” in life. Dyer says in the introduction of his book that the Tao has a certain “mind-stretching quality” to it. I would agree with that statement.


    For the record, I do value brevity. But my comments unintentionally ballooned out to what you have just read (or skimmed, or skipped). I believe Eben to be a high-information-intake kind of person, so I just figured, “what the hell”, and submitted my comments in their entirety. Read what you want, discard the rest. Hopefully these comments are within the spirit of his request for feedback.

    My comments here are clearly skewed toward the “emotional” and “mental” side of the stress management opportunity. Since I do not have much knowledge in the way of the “physical” side, I would be specifically interested in any information along those lines.

    Other than that, I would encourage everyone else to offer their insights, desires or guidance so that Eben has enough information to decide whether or not to create a decent stress management course. Eben has a way of creating killer content, and I’d like to see him apply his analytical and presentation skills to this topic.

  70. Arnaud said, on February 12, 2009 at 12:50 am

    Hi Eben,

    As a matter of fact, I just saw an osteopath a couple days ago, he did some manipulations on my body (some bones cracked etc …), and then said “You re all stressed out. What do you do for a living ? ”

    I told him I was a professionnal poker player, he asked a few other questions about my life, and got to the conclusion that :

    1) Sport is a big key, and has a major influence on your body AND mind, as to find inside peace.

    2) it s just a matter of caring about what you can change, and accept what you can not change. Focus on the areas you can have control on, or can improve on, and just leave the rest alone.

    Eben, I def think that this topic would be a very interesting one to launch a product on( I ve been already a customer for DYD, wake up prod , and some of your live seminars, so I know you would def kick ass at that).

    I think that anywhere between 199$ and 299$ would be very reasonnable.

    Keep the good stuff coming, thanks for the blog, it’s great stuff there.

    Arnaud , from France

  71. Joe Bliss said, on February 22, 2009 at 2:08 am


    Here’s a link to a “thought leader” who discusses his take on what makes people good stress managers. He gives Obama as an example, and he explains that stress management can be learned, despite your baseline temperament. Learning disassociation would be one technique for example.

    Anyway, check out this link. It’s quick and informative. You’re gonna want to take a look at it:

  72. Bill S said, on April 3, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Eclhart Tolle – The Power of Now & A New Earth

    These 2 books can help people in all areas of their lives.. amazing works

  73. tom h said, on April 24, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Eben, would strongly encourage you to invest your time in this…one of your programs on this subject would be seriously valuable and make a major contribution given what’s going on for a lot of people in the US and beyond at the moment…
    All your stuff has been awesome… I heard the dyd interview with amber in a friends car 3 years ago and been hooked on your programs since…

  74. Dan said, on April 28, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I’d be in there like swimwear 😉

    One thing i’ve learnt from DYD: Anything you make is usually awesome

  75. JP said, on May 7, 2009 at 2:08 pm


    I would love to buy a program like this in this category, from someone with your point of view on life.
    On thing i”m not such a big fan off, are studio clips.
    I like the interaction with audience a lot, like the three men transformation bonus disks.

    (money, health, time management) your best 3 dvd”s ever, and i saw all your stuff!

  76. jonnu said, on June 11, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    I wish you can make this and give it to your fans for free – just in the name of helping people who are stressed over because they don’t have any money. Or would this cost money?

  77. Jack said, on July 2, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Jack here from Australia.

    Stress is the foundation for most of my current problems. I feel that it is triggered by other people taking away my control of a majority of circumstances including financial choices. I know that i am responsible for my stress level but do seem to be going around in circles when tackling it. there is always some MAJOR obstacle around the corner. I do love a challenge, but this has been ongoing for 24months now.


  78. JP said, on July 19, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    wuts up with the program?

    cant wait!

  79. Duane Rackham said, on August 3, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Check out this book… REMOTE VIEWING: what it is, who uses it and how to do it. by Tim Rifat
    It is the ultimate stress reduction technique.

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