Master Class: How to Defeat Stress?
Speaker: Mike Fisher
“All people suffer from stress in one form or another.” This was the opening statement that Mr. Fisher gave to the participants.
Mike Fisher has been working for more than 20 years on different models, theories and practical applications to the field of anger and stress management.
“Anger and stress are two different things.” Said Mr. Fisher.
Despite the similarities they are caused by different factors. Stress is an issue of low self-esteem. If you try to think about the things that make you stressed out, you will discover that everything around you can be a stressing factor.
Putting yourself under unnecessary pressure and not making yourself a priority in your own life can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Actually what happens if you don’t prioritize yourself in your own life, is that you exhaust yourself. This is what we all do, it’s part of human nature.
Mr. Fisher offered a simple 3-step process to deal with stress:
- Identify the Stressor
- Shake the Apple Tree
- Take Action
In order to identify the stressing factors we deal with, Mr. Fisher asked the participants to think of what might make them stressed out and write everything down on the whiteboard. The answers were “future success”, “parents”, “uncertainty”, “fear”, “pressure”, “society”, “money”...
We cause stress to each other by pressuring each other without being aware of that, in almost every single aspect of daily life and human interactions. The first thing we need to do is to catch ourselves being stressed. If we do that, then that’s 50% of the work done.
Shaking the Apple Tree gives us the opportunity to identify what the symptoms are, in order to identify what the core stressor is. Once the core stressor is identified, we go to the next part of the process.
“What I’m trying to do here is to bypass an individual defense mechanism.” Said Mr. Fisher.
Then Mister Fisher used the help of two volunteers with whom he applied the process he suggested. He asked the volunteers about what is currently stressing them most and asked them to try to identify the core stressor. Mr. Fisher then asked the volunteers whether they believe they are the priority in their own lives, as that is a main contributing factor that produces stress.
Mr. Fisher then suggested to conduct an interactive peer-to-peer activity where everyone had the opportunity to identify the stressor and “shake the Apple Tree”.
Shaking the Apple Tree:
- Give Up
- Let Go Off
The participants then came up with different applications to the apple tree-shaking process, which is the second phase in the overall stress-management process. Then they tried to find the best practices to take action, which is the third and last step of the activity. Taking actions varies from one person to another, depending on the core stressor. However, there is no single case where taking action isn’t possible, because it is never impossible to defeat stress.
Stress in an integral part of our daily life, we live with it and we even create it. But dealing with it is possible if we do it the right way. Following the 3-step process suggested by Mike Fisher is an effective way to define the stressing factors in our lives and eventually take action.
In his book Mindfulness and the Art of Anger Management, Mike Fisher deals in depth with stress and toxic anger and tells us how we can control its destructive power to have a better life.
Workshop: Conflict Reconciliation
Moderator: Jaron Reisman
The workshop held by Jaron Reisman was a session with and about honesty. It was less about information and more about pure feelings, emotions, thoughts and even tears.
Jaron asked participants to answer a simple, yet very deep question «What were your do's and don’ts at home» and share their stories with each other.
The workshop was followed by a series of practical exercises that cannot be described in words. Instead, we chose to make a short video, in which Jaron very briefly describes his impressions of the workshop that was held during summer school today and offers some tips on how to reconcile conflict.
Here is a collection of impressions that stood out during the workshop
“It was not a workshop were you got a lot of information, it was more like reflection.”
“Before I thought if a person is crying, it is good to intervene and to try to help. Here I realised that it is better to think before, that there are more options to act. I understand now that sometimes people really need time and non-interference in their comfort zone”
“I was really touched, for me it was emotions instead of a lecture.”
“Jaron made us feel other people’s feelings and emotions and that was a very interesting experience.”
Workshop: Art of Negotiation
Moderator: Sven Anger
Sven Anger started with a small introduction and a brief statement on two topics: cultural differences and behavioral differences, which are both found everywhere in the world.
Sven Anger has been in sales for over 16 years. He has worked for two companies in NY and Germany and has been working for over 8 years for companies to help them achieve their goals and fulfill their mission statements on negotiation and communication skills.
The participants started by introducing themselves one by one and briefly talking about any experiences in negotiation and communication. They also talked about what they are passionate about.
Then Mr. Anger asked the participants about what is most important in sales.
The participants’ answers were very diverse “information”, “procedures”, “persuasion skills”...
He said it is possible to narrow it down in two words:
- Information (facts)
- Relationship (trust)
“You need to adapt to the situation. It is necessary to be very flexible” Said Mr. Anger. “In our lives we negotiate all the time. When you want to go to the movie theatre and your friend wants to go to the cinema, you will need to negotiate”.
It is important to establish relationships with people and build an environment that would help us be part of a bigger network ruled by information and relationships.
We have the factual side and we have the emotional side which is much more important. The key point is to keep them work together. People are naturally interested in others and they relate to others. Building trust is what gets us ahead no matter where we are and no matter what we’re doing.
“The question is how to start and how to move to building a relationship.” Said Mr. Anger. “It’s quite challenging for us to sell our ideas to others, but nevertheless very important.”
Information and relationships are intertwined. Trusting is a result of emotional behaviors that we express as a reaction to things around us. If you have no trust, you will have difficult time negotiating with others. That is the reason why it is highly important to work on the emotional level.
Then Mr. Anger invited the participants to work in peers, have a conversation and observe their trusting abilities.
“If you want to found an NGO for example, and you need to pitch your project to people, do you want to be connected and express your feelings and how important the project is to you?” Said Mr. Anger
People need to be aware of what they need to build a trust-based relationship, and that takes emotional interactions that would produce trust.
After the peer-to-peer activity, Mr. Anger invited the participants to have a group conversation and go deeply into the aspects of the conversations they had during the activity. He also encouraged them to relate to the emotional level of the conversation, which is an introduction to building trust.
“I advise you to ask questions and share bits of yourself with others” Said Mr. Anger.
Trusting others and relating to them requires a basis on which the relationship and the trust can be built. Asking questions is as important as giving answers.
Conflict situations tend to be highly emotional. Having a great strategy can contribute to approach a situation with different concepts and different levels of trust.
People are different everywhere in the world, but we are all driven by the same underlying principles that boost human relationships and emotional interactions.
“Sometimes we start negotiation process by “pacing” or “mirroring”. Said Mr. Anger. “That is also called “mimics”. This is quite tricky because copying and imitating others might look unnatural and fake. What we would want to do is to be aware and conscious of what is happening around us and act upon that.”
Mr. Anger asked the participants the following question “Does it make sense for everyone to ask questions in negotiation?”
Some participants believe that questions are inevitable when trying to establish relationships through negotiation. Some others think that the situation depends on the type of questions and how they are perceived by others.
The following activity was about dividing the group into 3 smaller groups to write down random questions on a white board that would intrigue the recipients and affect their answers to some extent. Then they discussed the activity as a whole group and observed how their questions influenced the recipients' willingness to answer them, a way to examine emotional interactions between people.
We need strategies to establish relationships based on trust and emotional interactions. Almost all conflicts happen because of misleading representational systems. It is very important to be aware of the characteristics of people with whom we interact.
In negotiation there are many variables, play with them and use them. It can help establish a fundamental relationship with others.