Updated: Apr 11
In our last blog post, Stress in the United States we wrote about how Stress is taking over the United States (and other modern societies). Now we are going to lay out how Kopely thinks about current stress management strategies. Please note, we probably think too much about stress management (but this is why we are here). We will break down these ideas into two parts.
In this post, part one, we will discuss why current commercial stress management strategies don’t work. Then, in part two and three we will discuss how Kopely thinks about stress management strategies.
I personally grew up in an era and household of self-improvement. As a young kid I remember driving with my dad and listening to positive thinking tapes from Tony Robbins, Zig Zigler, Napoleon Hill to Dale Carnegie. Although these speakers were dynamic and inspiring I often times left the car both energized and confused.
My coaching career has taught me a lot. Most importantly it has helped me see and understand the reality and humility of why so many people want to improve their lives, but never do. I have now reached the conclusion that the Kings and Queens of self-improvement do a great job at identifying why you aren’t successful or what you need to improve upon. However, they aren’t great at explaining how to improve.
You will find self-help organizations or professionals like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Psychologist help their members or clients by helping them understand that they have a problem. AA calls this process step one of their twelve steps, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Great coaches, therapists, and/or doctors understand that the only way to make true change is to ensure that their clients first understands that there is a problem or room for improvement. In cognitive psychology many therapist will label distorted thinking with cognitive distortions. However, I think our society is too good at pointing fingers and telling us that we have problems. And, most individuals know that they are too stressed.
From my experience, yes, you cannot help facilitate change without first identifying that the client has something to work on, and is motivated for change. But, you then have to deploy a how-to get better strategy.
This is where I think too many products, companies and influencers go astray. I don’t think every for profit business is trying to take advantage of consumers (although some may be). I think they don’t know better.
I hope you are now saying to yourself, “Yes, this is exactly how I feel. I know I have a stress problem, but how do I fix it?!”
This is exactly how I feel with all of my problems. After self-examination, I know I have many quarks. One of them being a love affair for diving into the nuances of whatever problem I am trying to solve for. I have to critically and completely understand all facets of the problem and then figure out the best way to solve it. Coaching has provided me with the opportunity to explore and exploit such curiosities like the why, what and how of the body and physical performance. Unfortunately or fortunately my physical training certifications fell short as I explored deeper into athletes and clients problems.
The problems that so many of us face are mental, not physical. Identifying the what and why is rather easy. I think that is why so many commercial products are steered towards those problems I call what and why surface level problems. These are easy to spot and easier to fix. Figuring out how to fix those problems run deeper. It takes a lot of energy and a lot of time to sort these problems out.
Many people do not have the time, energy or resources to address the deeper problems, like stress stress.
In conclusion, the problems with most stress management strategies is that they tend to speak to what problems you have and why you have them. They don’t touch the how-to be better part of the equation. Why does this problem happen so often in self-help industries like wellness, lifestyle, fitness and nutrition? It is because surface problems are easier to spotlight and sell. While the how part is really hard to figure out. It takes a lot of time and energy to dig deep into your own psychology and find a true solution to your stress.