Stress, the enemy of Conscious Body Language, By Kurt Larsson

Stress smallStress, the enemy of Conscious Body Language, By Kurt Larsson

”Keep your eye on the ball”. Easier said than done. With all the stuff to juggle these days is it no wonder we get distracted, confused and suffer from stress much easier?

My friend, Tim Finucane once described today’s lifestyle as ”Life in a spreadsheet”. Ever since Lotus introduced the 123 spreadsheet in 1983, which coincidentally gave the personal computer its raison d’etre, we have been re-engineered, streamlined and our effectiveness has been increased to peak efficiency and beyond. Yet, how does ”peak efficiency and beyond” feel to you?

The other side of this quest for efficiency has been the increase in stressful choices we have to deal with on a daily basis. For instance, how many:

  • Bank, investment and pension accounts do you have to deal with?
  • Deadlines do you have to deal with?
  • Discount, club, travel, debit and credit cards are crammed your wallet or purse?
  • Account numbers and passwords are you forced to memorize?
  • Business/work decisions do you face every day?


From another perspective, how many of your friends and colleagues complain about having too little to do?

Just as we have become more effective we have been burdened with many more decision points and responsibilities. When you are younger this feels exciting does it not? Yet what if, just as a sprinter will tire running a marathon, we slowly become fatigued and numb the longer we deal with this increasingly frenetic pace of modern life?

Especially if you have passed the charming age of 50, take a quick tally of how many of your friends have hit some sort of wall and either slowed down, burned out or suffered some debilitating or life threatening ”dis-ease”.

Thinking about versus thinking through?
Remember each little box in a spreadsheet is called a cell. Could this provide a clue to why so many busy people feel trapped or driven to perform even after the novelty has worn off? Now, how many of your friends still take on super human work loads without consciously considering the short and long-term consequences of the choice? Thinking about something is not the same as thinking through it. Granted some of our friends and colleagues can appear superhuman, for quite a long time. In this day and age of praising only the best and brightest, anyone coming in second place or further back is often quickly ignored or forgotten. Thinking about being first will not provide the conscious insight that thinking through all of the consequences of your action will. Could this unconscious drive to be the best explain the enormous pressure to go “unconscious” and appear to be the best. Could it also explain the increasing trend to cheat?

Conscious Body Language
Now honestly, if we get stuck in our own little spreadsheet cell do you think this will add to or subtract from your ability to stay conscious here and now? In fact, according to studies done by The Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the more you stress, the quicker and easier it is to forget about how you are affecting those around you. Whereas, calming down and becoming conscious will help you regain this important social perspective.

What if most of us still make better human beings than we do human doings?
For as anyone who has suffered a debilitating disease or has burnt out will tell you, even if you are not consciously paying attention to the consequences of your accelerated lifestyle, somewhere within, as well as without,  your body and those who care are still keeping score. The odds are that doing something without paying attention to its affect upon your own health and well being as well as on those around you will eventually produce a less than desirable effect

Personally, about 10 years ago my consulting business hit the skids. After the internet crash most of my clients, who were predominately in the IT business, cancelled their business almost simultaneously. I was left with one booking from a previously filled fall calendar. The stress to find work was enormous. Yet, the harder I pushed to find new business the further away from it I seemed to get. This was proof for me that many people, especially decision makers, can sense desperation and desperation does not sell.

To try to regain some perspective I went skiing with some friends for a weekend. To make a long story short, my skis stopped and I didn’t. The Doctors later said that I came as close to breaking my neck as I could without actually doing it and was laid up for 6 weeks recuperating from a horribly pulled trapezius muscle. For the first two weeks I did everything I could to pull myself out of bed, sit in front of the computer and try to do something to generate new business. Yet the pain was so great that I could only manage a few minutes at a time. After two weeks I finally gave up trying and I finally allowed myself to consciously recognize just how bad my situation was. With a little reflection, I discovered that I was unconscious to both the reason why I kept trying, but more importantly to the damage I was still doing to my body. Slowly, I began to surrender to my situation, allow myself to sense where the pain was and CONSCIOUSLY began to use some of the tools I had in my toolbox to allow and embrace my healing process.

Let me stress the word ”consciously” one more time since I had been using these tools ever since I landed and felt I could still move my fingers and toes. Yet it was only when I coupled my feelings, here and now and a sense of presence to them that they became more than just unconscious procedures which produced no healing effect. I had to learn to ”be” with the pain instead of just mindlessly ”doing ”something about it. Some tips that helped with this process of becoming conscious:

  • First and foremost, acknowledging from within the painful reality of my situation.
  • Finally, surrendering to my situation and consciously allowing my body to begin healing
  • Meeting, accepting and feeling my pain, head on and not trying to avoid, discount or deaden it
  • Focusing on it in present time and breathing through it to loosen strained tissue
  • Relaxing more on each exhale and allowing the pain to disperse (or sometimes intensify and then disperse).
  • Keeping a positive attitude that I would (and in fact, did) come out of this situation healthier and more flexible than before the accident.

”Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”, Unknown
Working through an injury, a situation and even an uncomfortable conversation instead of being distracted by the stress it produces is distinctly different that avoiding or discounting the situation. The more you choose to face life and its challenges consciously and consequently, the easier and more effective you will be in resolving that issue and reaping the rewards. See if this is true for you too regardless of whether it has to do with an issue in selling, communicating, health, negotiating, leadership or serving someone else.

For more information about how to minimize stress and become more conscious of your body and its language in the areas of sales, presentation skills, service and communication feel free to contact us here.

If you would like to get a taste of how to practically apply these techniques to your body and your particular situations you are invited to attend the following event:

Body Harmony Test Evenings (Prova på kvällar) Next is Wed. 19 February at Helhetshälsan in Stockholm

Sens Pres Skills_Cover Proof 4257148 4th-1And stay tuned for the launch of my book “Sensational Presentation Skills” Due out on Amazon very soon!


© Kurt Larsson 2014, you are invited and encouraged to link to this post.

About The Author


I am fascinated with what makes us humans ”tick”, especially when it comes to how we consciously communicate and express ourselves with our body language. My business background is in international sales and sales management, selling everything from automobile tires in Houston, Tx, to retail banking delivery systems in 20 countries. I have graduated from CoachU’s 3 year Coach Training program, been certified as an Extended DISC consultant and become a Certified International Body Harmony Teacher with over 20 years of ”hands-on” experience in bodywork. This rich and varied background combined with over 20 years of being an entrepreneur has blessed me with insights and experiences I never would have noticed in the corporate world. Mainstream business now seems to be waking up to the riches available from more conscious and responsible business practices. Expanding Understanding’s Sensational Soft Skills Toolbox , the books I have written and training I have developed now provide savvy decision makers and their colleagues measurable results and a more restful night's sleep. These tools provide an edge in consciously understanding, deliberately using and profiting from the most powerful communication tool available, our bodies. I look forward to meeting you on this path to mastery in non verbal communication.

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