The Antidote to Stress - A Q&A With Gale Thompson

I had the opportunity to interview Gale Thompson, a Leadership Coach and Founding Partner with The Decency Group, who is offering an upcoming workshop to share more about why she thinks this content and these practices are valuable and worth dedicating some time both in the workshop and then as practices to weave into daily life. The workshop is taking place LIVE on June 10th in the Philadelphia area and is called "Building Resiliency - The Antidote to Stress and its Indecency."

To register for Gale's workshop, please click the link below.

REGISTER

Why is it worth spending time learning the biology and skills to managing stress?

GT: Stress is literally killing many of us slowly or keeping us from being our whole selves at work and at home. Most of us aren’t even aware of it until much of the damage has been done – to the way we show up, to important relationships, and to our bodies. 

I muddled through my life and work with pretty high levels of stress and anxiety until they grabbed my attention and brought me to my knees. As I made my way back, I also learned a lot about how our bodies and emotions work and what we can do to work with them more effectively.  One of the most effective sets of content and tools I have run across are from Heartmath – whose science creates an understanding and rationale for doing something about the stress and whose tools are accessible and effective enough for me to use in daily living.  

The tools are helpful not only in dealing with stress but the bonus is that they’re also really helpful for creating a gateway and conditions for connecting more effectively with one’s inner wisdom.  Couldn’t we all use more of that?  I think so, which is why I’m so passionate about sharing this content with others who are willing to commit some time and energy to their own well-being.

 

What are some common misconceptions about anxiety and stress?

GT: I think in our culture we’ve normalized and acclimated to stress so much that we take it for granted as just a fact of life.  We’re not aware of the negative impact that chronic stress hormones have on our body, which was never designed to experience them on a consistent basis.  A little bit of temporary stress can heighten our awareness but chronic stress degrades our body and cognitive abilities.  This prevents us from being our best at work, with our families, or for ourselves.

 

What insights have you gained about your stress through Heartmath?

GT: Heartmath science helps me better understand why the body responds as it does.  It also helped me understand how to bring awareness into what is otherwise an unconscious and uncontrolled set of processes.  It really helped me understand how to intervene in those processes and mobilize healthier pathways that exist but are not as honed as my body’s responses to perceived threats.  The practices are all about strengthening those other pathways.

 

How did you discover Heartmath?

GT: Heartmath knocked three times before I started to consistently use it.  I’d read about it somewhere but I decided not to pursue it at the time. Instead, I tried to develop a meditative practice, but I wasn’t able to achieve real results or reliably incorporate it into my life.  I ran into Heartmath again at a therapy conference and bought the Heartmath feedback device but I put it on a shelf. Finally, I was once again reintroduced to it during my coaching training and, after trying it, I was able to see the profound difference it made in my clients’ lives.  That motivated me to incorporate it into my life and into my coaching.  I’ve been using it since 2012 and the results have been great!

 

How do you teach those techniques? How long does it take before people can use them effectively in their own lives?

GT: The techniques are easy to learn. With just a few practice sessions, you can really notice the immediate impact different thoughts have on your Heart Rate Variability.  It’s kind of amazing.  From there, you can notice the patterns of thoughts and focus that enable you to enter and stay in coherence. To gain the most ongoing value, it takes some commitment to practice.  For Heartmath, unlike meditation and other techniques, just 6 or 7 minutes a day has an impact.

 

What is your wiser Self?

GT: Within each of us is a larger, wiser Self who is not infused with fear, stress, or confusion.  I know when a client has reached their wise Self or Inner Leader because the feedback is invariably clear, compassionate, grounded, authentic, and full of integrity.  I didn’t know that I and others had this capacity until I started working with Heartmath.  Since then, I have sought to tap into that Inner Leader for myself and my clients.

 

To register for Gale's workshop, please click the link below.

LINK