Managing Stress in Stressful Times

by Karla Mans Giroux
Guest Blogger

Let’s get the bad news out of the way…75-90% of all primary care visits are for stress-related conditions. According to WebMed, stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.

If you are nervous, anxious, having trouble sleeping, gaining weight these are all normal reactions to stress. Normal, yes. But desirable? No

Since you can’t eliminate all stress in your life, having healthy ways to cope with it is important. So here is the good news, learning stress management techniques is easier than you might think.

We know that things like eating healthy well-balanced meals, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, meditating, and talking to others, or to a professional can help your stress. If you feel like a glass of wine or a couple of beers in the evening is helping you deal with stress, think again. Drinking alcohol can create additional problems and increase the stress you already have.

Let’s explore some of my favorite ways to get into the relaxation, or “rest and repair” mode.

Radical Self Care
Taking care of yourself, or what I like to call radical self-care, is something women often struggle with. If you are a caregiver to family members of any age you may often put their needs before your own. Remember the warning, put your oxygen mask on first…! It first requires that you “be kind to YOU.” Kristen Neff, author of Self-Compassion: The Power of Being Kind to Yourself, suggests that in Western culture, we are taught “to be kind to our friends, family, and neighbors who are struggling. Not so when it comes to ourselves.” She says that self-kindness means that we stop the constant self-judgment and ACTIVELY comfort ourselves. With self-kindness, we soothe and calm our troubled minds.

Take a Break
Taking a break when you notice the stress and overwhelm creeping in is vital. If you can’t walk away at that moment take several breaths. By using deep breathing, actually feeling your belly expand and contract, you are engaging the relaxation response which is what puts you into rest and repair mode. When you walk away, engage in something relaxing even just for 5 minutes, do calisthenics, go outside or look at nature (out the window or online…it’s still relaxing), play with your four-legged friends, anything that will interrupt that cycle of stress.

Breakup with Busy
We seem to be a society that feels “busy” is a badge of honor. Not so! Choose to use statements like “I have a full life” instead of “I am so busy.” Tell yourself you have all the time you need today to do what’s important. This strategy is to get the positive self-talk going so that your monkey mind doesn’t take you on a stress-around-the-world trip!

Find White Space
Another strategy I teach is to make “white space” on your calendar. When I used to look at my calendar and see empty space, I would find something to fill it. Now I schedule empty space into my week! I use that “white space” to do nothing – literally nothing! Stare out the window, look at clouds, meditate, pray, just make sure it’s really restorative. Do not do chores or unnecessary things. Essentially you want to think of this time as “being” time, not “doing” time!

Set – and Keep – Boundaries
Setting boundaries is important in supporting your new radical self-care practice. Do not allow others to take over your “white space”/”me” time – you are worth keeping that time sacred.

Karla Mans Giroux, KMG Holistic Cancer Coaching
Holistic Cancer Coach, Radical Remission Coach and cancer thriver. /

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Anchoring the Light

The pandemic is serving a purpose to slow us down, to “go within” and reflect on what is important in life. I call this period the time of the collective and personal “shadow” where those aspects that we swept under the rug are presenting themselves. When we are more aware, we have the choice to heal them. It is important to embrace all parts of ourselves with compassion and non judgment.We are called to “anchor and spread the light”, to return to our spiritual center of peace during these challenging times.

“We can hunker down in fear, or look for the opportunity to care, each in our own way. Our kindness is a light. The more we extend it, the brighter it becomes and the more darkness we illuminate. We can give without any expectation until goodness flows from our depths, presents new possibilities, and expands our sense of purpose.” Jean Houston, author of  Jump Time: Shaping Your Future in a World of Radical Change

An inspiring poem written by my husband to awaken the Divine feminine in all of us:

My Love Letter to the Divine Feminine Within
By Dave Birr

Touch me with your warm tenderness and share your strength of allowing me to welcome all the feeling of your body in my body, every sensation and chill of presence the magic of the moment that connects us to everyone, and allow me to share you in my touching others that they may feel your love incarnating in me. May the beauty of your vibrant colors fill my eyes with joy and let your ears be the altars where I remember my innocence. Speak to me always with the whisper of truth, so I can not forget what my heart wants. Let me live as your child, blessed by your cradling.

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Will of Our Soul

Greetings Fellow Soul Travelers!

I often tell people and myself when going through the collective and personal “dark night of the Soul” to “anchor the light”. I am inspired to share with you my friend and colleague Dr. Susan Trout’s blog commentary on this subject:

“Spiritual philosopher and self-described “practical mystic” David Spangler refers to the generative source of Light and its spiritual presence within us as “Self-Light”. Spangler notes that we too often disown or do not recognize our Self-Light (who we really are):

What we forget is that we are that Light…the sun that burns away the fog. The Light is in all of us, but it can be dimmed. If [our Light could not be dimmed], we would be living in a very different world, one in which nature is honored and partnered with care and love, one in which the stranger is simply a friend we have yet to meet, one in which each individual represents a potential for discovery and growth, one in which community and collaboration, as well as the honoring of each person’s uniqueness, are the hallmarks of life. We want such a world. We pray for such a world … the Light fuels our hope for such a world.”

Our Self-Light exists within us as an expression of the will of our Soul – our Higher Self – and can increase or decrease. It increases when we accept the presence and purpose of this Light, when we view Earth as a school in which we learn, heal, and serve, and when we are compassionate, loving, and caring. When our Light is dimmed by doubts, angers, prejudices, hatreds, or apathy, or we turn to outer temptations, distractions, addictions, or self-neglect, it is crucial that we ask the Light to illuminate the darkness and show us another way.”

(Susan Trout, PhD, 2020 blog excerpt, author of her newly released book To Show Another Way: How to Learn, Heal and Serve at a Time of Crisis on Planet Earth)

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Breaking Past Life Abuse Patterns

Many women are currently finding themselves extremely triggered by the current events that are surfacing in our society such as sexism, sexual abuse, harassment, etc. They are also challenged by the limiting cultural and ancestral roles in their families of origin. While it can be difficult to confront the individual and collective unhealed parts of ourselves, it is necessary to be able to move forward. I am often asked, “Why did I choose to come into this family or this abusive relationship?”  While there is no simple answer to this, I would like to share a case example of a woman who I wrote about in the book  Memories of the Afterlife (edited by Dr. Michael Newton). She experienced repeated past lifetimes of abuse until she was able to break the pattern. 

Elaine (not her real name), a mother of two and former professional in the corporate world came to me for past life and life between lives regression sessions. Many of her past lives were as a woman in a subservient role. For example, in one life she discovered that as a small child in China she lost her sense of freedom when she was immobilized in a box to prevent her from struggling as her feet were bound. In another lifetime she was an African-American woman working in a tanning factory in New York City. She was beaten in that life by her boss and she died of cancer from the toxic effects of the tanning chemicals. In her current lifetime she married a man who was controlling and emotionally abusive to her. He was unsupportive of her spiritual pursuits and beliefs. Elaine, began to notice a repeating pattern in her lifetimes of dis-empowerment and abuse.

Elaine was able to move forward through counseling, past life/between lives regression therapy and spiritual growth to release herself from these abusive relationship patterns. She eventually met her loving Soulmate.  Elaine is now using her talents and gifts to fulfill her life purpose.                         

Our current societal and cultural challenges provide us with an opportunity to heal our deeper karmic lessons.

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If I Had Unlimited Resources I Would…

I was asked to write an answer the question “What would you do if you had unlimited resources and why?” for the Present Moment newsletter. So I’m sharing it with you here.

I would love to make available to everyone who needs it the new tools, such as energy psychology, that are available to treat trauma. We know that generations of trauma are often passed on genetically to children. EMDR (bilateral brain stimulation), EFT (acupuncture for the emotions without the needles), HMR (holographic memory resolution), and past life regression are just some of the methods that I use to clear the roots of trauma, PTSD, abuse, addictive behaviors, depression, anxiety and limiting beliefs.

My “unlimited resources” vision includes making the training available to therapists, teachers, parents, and caregivers around the world who would offer these therapies to those in need. Imagine how impactful it would be if we could break these destructive generational cycles. This could clear a path to reconnection with our wholeness. You can read a Jan 4, 2016, blog entry on my website about how memories are passed on through genes.

Memories Passed on through Genes

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My Past Life/Between Lives Journal Article

I am thrilled to report that I was invited to write an article for the International Journal for Healing and Caring (IJHC) on the topic of Past Life Regression (PLR) and Life Between Lives Hypnotherapy (LBL). As many of you know one of my therapeutic specialties is regression therapies (past life, between lives and age regression). I am grateful for IJHC for the role it serves in integrating science and spirituality. I hope that you will read my article which is in the June 2019 edition online. The article covers some of the research evidence, case studies and the practice of PLR and LBL.

Enter this link to find the current issue

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Spiritual Transformative Experiences (STEs)

In my private practice and in workshops I have observed that people are reporting spiritually transformative experiences (STEs) of many types.  According to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, 35.7% of the adult US population has had a least one religious or spiritual experience “that changed their life”.
I recently attended the American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences Conference (ACISTE). They do research, educate and support people through those changes.
Some categories of ST experiences are:
-Mystical (ecstatic/bliss, unitive, spiritual rebirth, visions, revelations)
-Spiritual Energy (Kundalini),
-Psychic (past life recall, clairsentience, spirit guide visitation/communication)
-Near Death Experiences
-Inspired Creativity
-Death related (terminal lucidity, after death communication)
While these experiences can be transformative they can also be confusing and overwhelming. It is important to be able to integrate these into our lives through support and validation of the experience.
Common positive effects of spiritually transformative experiences lead to a feeling of peace, certainty of the afterlife, a refocus on life purpose, increased empathy, and compassion.
I have observed that some of these STEs are experienced during hypnotherapy to contact loved ones on the other side, past life regression and life between lives sessions.  They may assist in overcoming fear of death, overcoming grief and a greater awareness of our spiritual nature and life purpose.
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How to Thrive in Tumultuous Times

Eclipses, Retrogrades, Transits
As many of you are noticing, we are going through intense transitions and energies on many levels. We are on a mental and emotional roller coaster with the astrological transits of Mercury (affects communication, contracts, electronics) and Mars (anger, irritability, impulsiveness) in retrograde combined with triple eclipses. On an outer level these transits can manifest as earthquakes, volcanoes, war and fires. On an inner level these energies can feel “crazy making” with symptoms of anxiety, restlessness, irritability, and anger.
Note:  Mercury in retrograde will be done on Thursday, August 17!
The Antidote
Some people might want to “check out” or “self-medicate” with alcohol, food or drugs so that they don’t have to feel their anxiety, depression or “metaphysical angst”. The good news is this is a time of great opportunity for accelerated inner healing of past life and this life unfinished business. Even though we have free will as to when we tackle our karmic lessons, now is a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of this time period for accelerated Soul growth.
It is important to take some time to “unplug” from the frenetic distractions of the outer world. We can ground ourselves by being in nature, meditating, doing Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong.  Clearing a space to return to our spiritual center of peace and calm is essential during these challenging times.
In my holistic practice I offer many modalities to assist in healing karmic patterns including past life and between lives regression therapy. I also use energy psychology and hypnotherapy to clear the blocks to living a soul guided life of passion and purpose. (The different types of therapies that I use are on my website
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Burn Out

Some of my clients report feeling “burned out”, drained, fatigued, losing their zest for life, work, and their relationships. Our fast-paced world leaves little time for balance. We need to schedule restorative time where we can recharge our batteries. This can be done by spending time in nature, unplugging from electronic distractions, meditation, practicing self care, humor, and playfulness. However, it may be necessary to get to the root of these persistent non-productive patterns that deplete energy. One method that I use with clients is a “parts” process where we compassionately dialogue between the Higher Self and the inner sabotaging parts. The “Pusher”, the “Perfectionist”, the “Judge and Critic” parts often take over so that the Higher Self is not in charge. There are underlying reasons for why these parts (coping mechanisms) take over because of past programming. The good news is that these parts can be calmed down so that equanimity and peace of mind can be restored. The result is that the Higher Self is back in charge. What are the signs that the Higher Self is present? The seven C’s…compassion, calm, creativity, courage, clarity, connection, and confident.

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“Intuitive Dance” Book Recommendation

Our planet is in a “celestial speed up” where more and more people are accessing enhanced intuition and awareness of the non-physical world. I have been searching for a practical book to help my clients make sense of and develop their intuitive abilities. “The Intuitive Dance” by Atherton Drench is just the right book with a balance of spiritual grounding and a tool kit of techniques, exercises, and daily practices. It answers many of the questions often asked, such as identifying your intuitive type, using intuition ethically, how to protect oneself, clearing space, reprograming limiting  beliefs, and restoring centering calm. Atherton’s book is a profound contribution to move us forward beyond our fearful ego voice to the quiet calm voice of our higher intuitive Self.

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