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“See, there comes the stress...”

“I don’t feel so well… I can’t handle the stress anymore”, Jef anxiously replied to me. I observed him with a surprised look on my face: a 10-year-old child who starts panicking because Saint Nicolas has just arrived in our country...

I have to admit that I was also impressed by the man with the mitre when I was a little child: days before his arrival, I was already tiptoeing. Still, as an improvement coach, I was astonished to hear a child pronounce the word ‘stress’.

In my professional life, I am permanently being confronted with the consequences of stress. Each day, I meet people who want to try a different approach. Stress is everywhere. Everyone is busy: housekeeping, work, children and friends. Everything is and should be possible... even for children!

“Should we teach children to deal with stress?” is a question I often hear. Yes! What’s learnt in the cradle lasts till the tomb: children who learn to keep their tension level under control at a young age, will receive the benefits from it all life long.

Four rules of thumb:
  1. The essence is your own body: people who can recognize the signals of their own body, have already learned a lot. Everything starts with good breathing. Did you know that belly breathing considerably helps to prevent stress? Chest breathing is superficial, quick and irregular. When we have less oxygen in our blood, our heart starts beating more quickly, causing a stress reaction. Belly breathing, on the other hand, helps you to relax your body and mind. Breathe in and out deeply and slowly … in and out. Make sure your belly is always expanding when you are breathing in.
  2. You can teach yourself to ‘think differently’ by reacting differently to stress impulses. Do you feel the tension coming? Block your stress thoughts and think of something else. If you try to always do this from now on, your new way of thinking will become an automatism. Believe me, you can teach yourself new habits: your brain believes what you are telling it!
  3. The same goes for your behavior. Do you make lots of useless movements? Are you a nail-biter or do you destroy your ballpoint in no time? Are you running your legs off at the office because you are constantly thinking that time is money? Stop it and you will automatically get rid of lots of stress. Your thoughts and feelings are mainly being determined by your behavior.
  4. Observe your environment. How do people around you react and how do you react? Usually, people reacting with irritation, get beat at their own game. A smile and a bit of humor can already work. Actually, it’s quite simple.
Do you want to learn to play tennis? Training is the key. Do you want to learn to cook? Take place behind your cooker. Why wouldn’t it be the same for keeping your stress under control? Practice makes perfect!

Wouter Goris

Wouter Goris is one of the founders and owners of Ready 2 Improve. Unlike most coaching companies, which limit themselves to one course about time management or stress management, Ready2improve offers a much broader health-in-action strategy, in which stress and time management are only part of the organizational change process. Ready2improve tackles the cause of the problem, instead of offering many remedies to cope with its symptoms.

Ready2improve is specialized in this field and only collaborates with university-educated psychologists and fitness experts. The methods used are based on scientific research and results. Moreover, its results and return on investment are guaranteed.

Visit Ready 2 improve via their website @
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