Stress Can Be a Powerful Tool for Personal Growth, According to a Mindset Coach
November 1, 2021

We founded Threes Physiyoga to build bridges between the different disciplines and communities within the healthcare and wellness continuum. We believe doing so best supports our overall wellbeing. And our podcast, The Body Puzzle, is the latest place where we’re putting these pieces together. Each episode includes insights from experts and specialists who will empower and challenge our beliefs. They’ll also expand our foundational knowledge, and boost our relationships to our own bodies and each other.

Compared to previous generations, life as we know it today is pretty comfortable thanks to technology. “Especially in the last 15, 20 years, things have gotten really easy for us,” says breathing and mindset coach Avi Greenberg. “Everything’s made for us to feel little to no discomfort, and listen, in some ways that’s amazing. In other ways, we’re more lethargic.”

While our comfort zones are certainly bigger than ever, Greenberg believes (and teaches the athletes, executives, and yogis he coaches) that venturing outside of them is a necessary part of personal growth. “Our nervous systems are developed in a way where acute short bursts of high levels of stress can actually be really good for us,” he says. “You get these dopamine releases, and then your body kicks over to a relaxed state.”

Overtime, it can also help you manage stress better, which is a good thing since the majority of us live with a low-grade level of constant stress in our lives. “Work, life, family, bills, things like that,” Greenberg says.

The more that technology takes us away from our tasks, the more it actually takes us away from our bodies, Greenberg believes. “We’re also losing all the connections, including to the breath,” he says. As a result, our bodies have a harder time regulating, both physiologically and emotionally—meaning coping with day to day demands is more difficult, and we spend more time trying to survive rather than thrive.

The solution, however, is not to abandon modern society (and the creature comforts it affords), but rather to use breathwork consciously to overcome challenging situations mindfully, and, in turn, better manage stress.

“Breathing is really the key,” Greenberg believes. The goal is to learn how to use it to up- or down-regulate your nervous system, in order to either energize or calm yourself. “It starts with a lot of breath awareness,” he says. “Humans have this unique ability that no other animal has—we can control our breathing. We can stop it. We can start it; we can hold it, and we could do so for whatever reason we want.”

Often when people are in a stressful situation, they either stop breathing, or they immediately think they need to start breathing deeply in order to relax. “Most of the time that deep breath is only going to exacerbate that stress,” Greenberg says. To learn what you can do instead, tune in to his episode of The Body Puzzle below.

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