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Stress

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Have you been wondering why stress can seem to follow you around everywhere you go and with everything you do? Unlike animals in danger that drop their stress levels once they’re safe, as humans we have this unique, semi-annoying trait of carrying our stress around with us all the time.

Imagine watching your favorite team play in an intense, important game. It’s tied and coming down to the wire. In this moment- your palms are sweating, your chest is tight, you can’t breathe, it’s all you can think about. Now imagine if this feeling never went away. For people with chronic stress this is exactly what it can feel like, but it’s not nearly as exciting watching a game.

When our body’s stress response lingers in us for long periods of time it erodes health, increases levels of bad cholesterol, abolishes the immune system, and shuts down digestion.

Our brains were not made to sustain the high levels of stress we face from the modern world.

Believe it or not, some stress can actually be a great thing. Studies show that when your mindset believes your body’s stress response is preparing you for action, you can actually become energized. Think of the stress signaling you to put on your superhero cape to save the world. By changing the story and false self-talk that drives increased stress, you can view the stress in your life as your bodies’ way of rising to the challenge without the harmful health effects.

How you think about stress matters. You only stress about things you actually care about. If you don’t give a damn, then you wouldn’t be stressed. So admit to yourself that there is something you care deeply about behind your stress.

The key to managing stress is being in control of your thoughts, emotions and actions.

I call this framework of learning to be in control of your thoughts, emotions and actions, “mental conditioning.” As a former collegiate athletic coach, I always preached on the importance of physical conditioning for top performance. Then I realized the importance of conditioning the mind in the same fashion. Mental conditioning sessions were born.

I now work with clients to learn this control before their brains enter the “fight or flight” process. This silences your body’s physiological fire alarm that you are in danger when you feel stressed.

I teach clients how to prioritize themselves and learn their most effective ways to recharge physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

If not controlled, high levels of stress can have harmful effects on our health. Stress can cause the following hazards:

  • Chronic Headaches
  • Strokes
  • Ulcers
  • Insomnia
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Chest Pain
  • Immunological Problems
  • Thyroid Dysfunction
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • High levels of stress over a period of time while pregnant increase the chances of having a premature baby
  • Contributes to the development of alcoholism, obesity, drug addiction, nicotine addiction, suicide and other harmful behaviors

Burnout is considered the last step in the stress cycle. It derives from chronic stress and is a serious medical condition. Burnout is a gradual depletion over time of your energetic resources (emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue, and cognitive weariness).

Researchers have found that burnout can lead to increased risk of health hazards. If there are no healthy coping efforts to interrupt the stress triggers you can end up on the burnout track.

Burnout triggers include:

  • Overwhelming Workload
  • Transitions in Career or Life
  • Lack of Control
  • Sense of Worthlessness

The good news? You can do something about this today. By being proactive you can learn how to manage stress and avoid burnout before serious health issues arise.

Our health & wellness is one of, if not THE most important aspect of our lives!

Remember, YOU are your greatest asset. If you are not taking care of yourself, you will not function at your full potential in any area of your life. Start protecting your greatest asset by being proactive about your well-being.

How stressed are you really? Take a complimentary stress assessment!

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change toward him. ”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Meet Erica

My Story

My professional career began when I was hired as a Strength & Conditioning Coach for Division I sports teams. The hours were long, starting as early as 4:30am until 7pm most days, and I had to be “on” for every hour of that day. The job was hard but doable, until I hit a personal crisis in 2011.

In that single year, I experienced the deaths of three people who were extremely close to me. It was so unexpected and I did not have the tools then to cope with the stress and confusion that hit me. My life quickly took a turn and I hit rock bottom. I quickly realized I had never been taught to truly process emotions. After I got the help I needed, I started to reflect: What is the meaning of life? What is it that I truly want to do with my life? If I do stay in collegiate athletics, what impact do I want to make?

At this time, I was a collegiate Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach. I realized that all around me there were people, young and old, who did not have the mental tools to deal with stressful situations, ranging from small triggers to huge crises. I started hosting weekly “Mental Conditioning” sessions, helping my team anticipate situations where they would experience “fight or flight” responses and prepare their reactions beforehand. I began noticing that the team started to act less impulsively and got better at holding not only themselves, but each other accountable.

I took those lessons with me from that season for every job I had going forward: As Director of Logistics & Operations for a Division I basketball team, as General Manager and Sales Lead for a growing fitness facility, and as General Manager & Director of Catering of a brand-new health food restaurant in one of the busiest locations in Atlanta. All those jobs were demanding for a variety of reasons — all-consuming bosses, switching industries, starting new ventures, long hours — but through it all, I learned how to set healthy boundaries, manage expectations, find my purpose when it got tough, and, most importantly, help my team members do so as well.

Although I work as a coach now, my instinct as a coach has guided me throughout my career. Whether I’m talking to a seasoned executive or a street-smart teenager, I love understanding what motivates a person, what narratives they believe about themselves, and helping them set goals and make measurable progress towards them. My specific passion for helping people live fuller and healthier lives has prompted me to dive into the latest neuroscience and psychological research on stress and wellness, which informs my coaching.

As a coach, I bring the breadth and depth of personal and professional experiences, as well as research-based frameworks and tactics, to the table to help you win the championship of your life.

Erica Ferguson

Stress Management Coach

I’m a former collegiate All-American athlete & athletic coach. Currently as a stress management coach, I specialize in empowering high-performing professionals in high-intensity industries to be more self-aware, make smarter decisions and cultivate resiliency. My experience spans from athletics, to health and wellness, to business operations.

I'm dedicated to helping people learn how to manage their stress, avoid burnout and navigate through life transitions to live their greatest lives.

Why Erica?

Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so rewiring your brain and habits for you to live your greatest life will not happen overnight. I will work with you diligently to create a program that works for you. I will be your coach preparing you to win the championship of your life. I draw up custom plays for each client to overcome obstacles and make them successful.

I will push you to achieve more than you ever thought you were capable of. Through a framework of “mental conditioning,” I will help aide you in creating a mindset shift to control your thoughts, emotions and actions. I will teach you how to activate this control before you enter into a stress induced “fight or flight” process. Together we will create your custom stress-response plan.

I will be your accountability partner, making sure you are reaching your goals and on track for success. I will make you laugh. I will follow the acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid).

I am going to be very honest with you and at times, blunt. I’m witty, with a great sense of humor and a bit sarcastic.

An additional benefit of working with me is that from my extensive expertise in the health & wellness field, I also help clients begin health & wellness routines.

Most importantly I’m going to sit by your side, hold your hand, give you a kick in the rear (when needed) and guide you on this life transformation.

When you work with me, I teach you how to manage your stress and take control of your life. As much as I’ll enjoy working with you, you will not become dependent on my services. I work with my clients to become self-sufficient on managing their stress.

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