The Inner Game of Stress

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-08-18
  • Publisher: Random House
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Renowned sports psychology expert W. Timothy Gallwey teams up with two esteemed physicians to offer a unique and empowering guide to mental health in today's volatile world.The Inner Game of Stressapplies the trusted principles of Gallwey's wildly popular Inner Game series, which have helped athletes the world over, to the management of everyday stresspersonal, professional, financial, physicaland shows us how to access our inner resources to maintain stability and achieve success. Stress attacks every aspect of our well-being. Gallwey explains how negative self-talk undermines us, making us believe that pressure is inevitable and that other people's expectations are paramountwhich leaves us feeling helpless and unhappy. But as Gallwey shows, we have the means to build a shield against stress with our abilities to take childlike pleasure in learning new skills, to properly and healthily rest and relax, and to trust in our own good judgment. With his trademark mix of case histories and interactive worksheets, Gallwey helps us to tap into these inner strengths, giving us these invaluable tools: the STOP technique: Learn how to Step back, Think, Organize, and Proceed with a more conscious choice process, even in the most chaotic circumstances. the Attitude tool: If you're feeling resentment, try gratitude. the Magic Pen: Develop the ability to open up your intuition and wisdom. the Transpose exercise: Imagine what the other person thinks, feels, wantsand develop empathy, kindness, and better relationship skills. the PLE triangle: Use your goals for Performance, Learning, and Experience to redefine success and enhance enjoyment. Now you don't have to be a champion athleteor an athlete at allto keep your life in perspective and your performance at its peak. A one-of-a kind guide,The Inner Game of Stressallows anyone to get in the game and win.

Author Biography

W. Timothy Gallwey has produced a series of bestselling Inner Game books, which set forth a new methodology for the development of personal and professional excellence in a variety of fields. For the last twenty years Gallwey has been introducing the Inner Game approach to corporations looking for better ways to manage change. He lives in Malibu, California.

Table of Contents

Foreword: What Our Patients Taught USp. ix
Introduction: The Inner Game and Stressp. xv
The Game of Stress
Who Needs Stress?p. 3
Our Two Selvesp. 15
Meet Your Stress Makerp. 28
An Alternative to Fight-Flight-Freezep. 42
Gearing Up and Gearing Downp. 59
Outsmarting Stress
The Inner Game Learning Code: ACTp. 75
Your Tree of Stabilityp. 87
Build a Personal Shieldp. 96
Be the CEO of Your Lifep. 107
The Inner Game Toolbox
Inner Game Tool # 1: Stopp. 117
Inner Game Tool # 2: Being the CEOp. 126
Inner Game Tool # 3: The Three Control Questionsp. 132
Inner Game Tool # 4: Trying On a New Attitudep. 138
Inner Game Tool # 5: The Magic Penp. 145
Inner Game Tool # 6: Transposep. 148
Inner Game Tool # 7: Redefinep. 153
Inner Game Tool # 8: The PLE Trianglep. 159
Applying the Tool: Eileen's Storyp. 163
Applying the Tools: Matters of Life and Deathp. 170
Conclusion: The Inner Game of Lifep. 179
Medical Notesp. 191
Inner Game Resourcesp. 203
Acknowledgmentsp. 205
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


Who Needs Stress? 

“I’m so stressed!” We hear it dozens of times a day. It’s said in different ways in different languages all over the world. Here where I live in California, stress is a way of life. We worry about the fires that are eating away at our natural beauty, or the earthquakes and floods swallowing homes. We worry about the price of gas that is choking our car- driven culture. We worry about our economic survival, layoffs, war, and health care. If you want to worry, you’ve come to the right century! 

That we are beset by both global and everyday stressors is obvious to most of us. The barrage of media messages we receive is like an assault—economic collapse, home foreclosures, terrorism, wars, loss of savings, starvation, bankruptcies, natural disasters, and failing health care systems. These messages accentuate the strain we feel from ordinary stressors, such as arguments with our spouses, difficulties raising our children, getting overburdened at work, struggling to pay the bills, health concerns, and so on. Unfortunately, stress feeds upon stress. The more stressed we are, the easier it is for the little things to upset us. Worry impairs our ability to think clearly and function productively, and that in turn stresses us out even more. In fact, we are so used to being stressed that we have come to think of it as a normal part of our lives. 

Yet stress is not normal. It is an imbalance experienced in the body when the stress system is chronically activated. The factors, or stressors, can be internal or external, but one thing is clear. The stress we feel is uncomfortable, interferes with our ability to function, and is generally harmful to our physical health. 

One of Edd Hanzelik’s patients once declared, “I think it would be very strange to be free of stress.” In fact, there can be a seductive energy to living a high- stress lifestyle. Some people even think that stress is good for you—that it motivates you and gives you a competitive edge. When I coach businesspeople, I see that attitude all the time: “You’ve got to be more aggressive than the competition to succeed. You’ve got to drive yourself. You’ve got to have a warrior mind- set.” In our society, we even admire people who live on adrenaline, with their buzzing BlackBerrys and eighteen- hour workdays. We consider it a badge of honor if someone can get by on four or five hours of sleep a night. 

We’re conditioned to view stress as necessary and inevitable, but the opposite is true. Our bodies seek homeostasis—balance. That is what’s natural, and that is what works. Likewise, our minds need to be in balance, not in turmoil. Priorities need to be clear, and that includes our own well- being. It’s a myth that we need stress to achieve high performance. In fact, studies show that chronic stress impairs our health, leads to serious disease, and impedes successful performance. 

When we do see individuals who are beset by great challenges, yet manage to keep their cool, we are impressed. While he was running for president, Barack Obama was dubbed by the media, “No Drama Obama,” and his calm demeanor gave increased hope to people around the world. Another outstanding example is Nelson Mandela. After spending twenty- seven years in a prison in South Africa, he emerged to form a government with those who had jailed him. He later said about this time, “For the political prisoners, determination and wisdom overcame fear and human frailty.” 

We all are in some ways imprisoned by the threats around

Excerpted from The Inner Game of Stress: Outsmart Life's Challenges and Fulfill Your Potential by Edd Hanzelik, John Horton, W. Timothy Gallwey
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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