Welcome to the Tools for Transforming Stress Page

Let’s face it, our modern lives have become quite complicated and stressful. There are so many demands on our time and energy. We are bombarded by the 24/7 news and social media cycles.

Oh, and how about our phones? They are truly miraculous tools AND the technology is designed to make you use it more. It pings your brain in a way that creates more desire and creates real addiction. When was the last time you turned off your phone for a whole day? Ever?

The work demands, social demands, tech demands, political and social unrest, world events, violence, finances, relationships, and on and on. They all activate our fight/flight survival systems.

Our bodies are not meant to live in that kind of chronic stress. Stress is a leading cause of death. It contributes to most (if not all) serious and chronic diseases. Most of us believe, “that’s just how life is. Deal with it.”

I call B.S.!

My approach to stress transformation

  • Reduce stress triggers if possible
  • Complete stress cycle
  • Take care of yourself when you do get triggered
  • Practice to sharpen your tools

Learn more in the following sections and try the guided practices.

Highly Sensitive People (HSPs): you might be a highly sensitive person if you feel things much more deeply than others; if you seem to be more effected by positive and negative experiences than others; you often feel emotionally overwhelmed; you are a compulsive helper; it’s hard to have healthy boundaries; it’s hard to say “no” even when you really need to; you often feel emotionally and physically exhausted. If this sounds like you, take one of the online quizzes and/or check out the book “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aron. If this is you, you must do all the self-care, stress reduction practices to be happy and healthy in my opinion as a psychologist and HSP.

What Are Common Symptoms of Stress?

Manifestations of stress are numerous and varied but they generally fall into four categories (this is only a partial list of most common symptoms):

Physical: fatigue, headache, insomnia, muscle aches/stiffness (especially neck, shoulders and low back), heart palpitations, chest pains, abdominal cramps, nausea, trembling, cold extremities, flushing or sweating and frequent colds.

Mental: decreased concentration and focus, decreased memory, indecisiveness, mind racing or going blank, confusion, inflexible thinking, hypervigilance.

Emotional: anxiety, nervousness, depression, anger, frustration, worry, fear, irritability, impatience.

Behavioral: pacing, fidgeting, nervous habits (nail-biting, foot-tapping), over eating, smoking, drinking, crying, yelling, swearing, blaming and even throwing things or hitting.

What Are the Causes of Stress?

Dr. Selye called the causes of stress “stressors” or “triggers.” There are two kinds of stressors: external and internal.

External stressors include:
• Physical environment: noise, bright lights, heat, confined spaces.
• Social (interaction with people): rudeness, bossiness or aggressiveness on the part of someone else.
• Organizational: rules, regulations, “red tape,” deadlines.
• Major life events: death of a relative, lost job, promotion, new baby.
• Daily hassles: commuting, misplacing keys, mechanical breakdowns.

Internal stressors include:
• Lifestyle choices: caffeine, not enough sleep, overloaded schedule.
• Negative self-talk: pessimistic thinking, self-criticism, over-analyzing.
• Mind traps: unrealistic expectations, taking things personally, all-or-nothing thinking, exaggerating, rigid thinking.
• Stressful personality traits: Type A, perfectionist, workaholic, pleaser.

Even though there are a lot of external things we label as stressors, It is important to note that most of the stress we have is self-generated. This is a paradox because so many people think of external stressors when they are upset (it is the weather, the boss, the children, the spouse, the bills, the stock market). Recognizing the power of your mind to create or relieve stress can be your ticket to freedom.

Reducing or eliminating stress triggers

How in the world do you eliminate stress triggers?

Learn to take the steam out of the triggers by desensitizing yourself to them. Two tools you can use are mindfulness practices and tapping. See the videos and guided experiences on this page to get started.

You can also use the positive power of your mind. NOT toxic positivity. First, honor and clear the stressful feelings. Then you can use your mind to shift perspectives about the triggers. When rain becomes just rain, you don’t have to get upset about the fact that it’s raining.

Play with these ideas in your own life. How are you reacting to people, things, events and how can you shift your perspective on them? What’s the fact about it and what’s your story about it?

Work with your mind and body to desensitize stress triggers over time. It is absolutely doable and it may take time.

complete the stress cycle

What’s the stress cycle?

How do I complete it?

Self-care as Prevention & cure

Mindfulness Introduction

Guided Practice to Cultivate Mindfulness

How to use mindfulness to reduce stress in the moment.

Tapping How-To:

You don’t have to be perfect with this. Get close to the correct locations. You can follow me for the process. See more in the tips session below.

Tapping Tips

The chart is for reference. I do want you to tap in the correct locations but you’ll discover along the way the the order can be different and often we’ll leave out points or focus on other points. Tapping is a flexible system. Each point is on a meridian. These are places an acupuncturist might place needles. If you look around YouTube for tapping practitioners you’ll see variety in the order of these points and some include more or fewer points. It all works! So, you can simply watch me and do what I do in the video.

**When following others’ videos, make the words fit your feelings. For instance, if they say “I’m mad” but you feel rage or indignant, then say that. The more specific it is to you the deeper it will clear. I also suggest over doing it by using words that seem more than you feel. We often downplay how we really feel. You won’t make yourself an angry person if you use angry words. You will, however, likely uncover feelings you weren’t aware you felt. There is also much benefit to be gained from just doing what they do while thinking about your issue. It’s called borrowing benefits. This is why group tapping can be so powerful.

Other great tapping resources include The Tapping Solution online, on YouTube, and they have a great app. Or check out Brad Yates on YouTube. Brad has hundreds of videos on hundreds of issues.

Bottom line…don’t sweat about the tapping. This technique is elegantly forgiving. Just visualize, speak, and tap until it’s clear.

Guided Tapping Session for Stress

Going deeper: Tools for transforming stress course

Over the 4 weeks, you’ll learn and practice 5 evidence-based and powerful tools for reducing and transforming stress. Be-Love-Breathe-Move-Tap your way to less stress, less reactivity, and greater resilience.

Books and Articles about stress, burnout, tapping, and mindfulness
  • Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, Amelia Nagoski
  • The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner
  • The Science Behind Tapping: A Proven Stress Management Technique for the Mind and Body by Dr. Peta Stapleton
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
  • Loving What Is by Byron Katie
  • Creating Lasting Change by Jessica Ortner
  • Manifest Your Greatest Self by Nick Ortner
  • Tapping for Pain Relief by Nick Ortner
  • The tapping Solutions for Weight Loss & Body Confidence by Jessica Ortner


Can Tapping Affect Your Genes? Research Says Yes! by Nick Ortner

Tapping Resources:

The Tapping Solution App

Brad Yates on YouTube