Ep #92: Transform Your Stress

By: Dr. Sherry Price

Drink Less Lifestyle with Dr. Sherry Price | Transform Your Stress

In talking with women recently, there’s one thing that keeps coming up in our conversations.  They are gripped with worry and stress. From rising interest rates, the war going on, Roe overturned, gun violence, handling their kids, to feeling like they can’t manage it all without a drink.  It’s overwhelming.

So, they find comfort in drinking.  Alcohol calms their nerves and pretends to soothe their stress.  The problem is that drinking to soothe doesn’t give us the life we want.  We overdrink or turn alcohol into a habit which leads to dependence on it to help manage our stress.

Managing your stress isn’t as effective as transforming your stress.  Join me in this week’s episode as I talk about transforming your stress.  When you do this, you won’t be dependent on alcohol.  Nor will you have the constant nightly habit.  This frees you up to live the life you truly crave.

 

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What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • Why we turn to alcohol to manage our stress.
  • The difference between managing your stress versus transforming your stress.
  • Transform your stress so you stop overdrinking and break the bad habit

Featured on the Show:

Download my free guide How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit.

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Full Episode Transcript:

 

 

You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 92.

Welcome to Drink Less Lifestyle, a podcast for successful women who want to change their relationship with alcohol. If you want to drink less, feel healthier and start loving life again you’re in the right place. Please remember that the information in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Now, here’s your host, Dr. Sherry Price.

Well, hello my beautiful friends. I’m so glad you’re here with me today. Thanks for tuning in. How are things going for you? How are things in your world? I don’t know about you guys but my calendar is on fire right now. Anyone else feel this way? I am looking at my summer and we have every weekend booked all the way up till my daughter starts school and then some. It’s like all of a sudden life seems to be back on again. We have social events. There’s weddings. There’s parties. There’s gatherings. There’s backyard barbecues and all kinds of get togethers.

It’s quite fun but I’m looking at my calendar going, “Wow, this is way different than the last two years.” We just went to the San Diego fair last night and can I tell you, it felt so delightful. We have gone traditionally to that fair every year. But it didn’t happen in 2020. We all know what happened that year. And last year they had a much scaled down version, so it was just food trucks, no rides and it was kind of walk up and they were limited tickets. And so, they weren’t allowing as many people in. I think part of it might have been drive-thru if I recall.

But this year it was back in full swing. All the rides, all the games, all the big stuffed animals you can win. Oh my gosh, it was so much fun. We have gone every year I think since our daughter’s been maybe four. And it was so fun because we just went and we were reminiscing about all the memories we have when she was on the kiddy rides and the first time she’s tried that ride. Because they’re similar rides that come back every year. And the first time she won her goldfish and we loved her first goldfish. And it actually lasted quite a long time.

And then the second one that we won didn’t the next year. And I have to tell you, just walking down memory lane was just so beautiful. I knew we would be excited going and I knew we’d have a lot of fun. But man, I have really underestimated how big of a tradition that is for our family. And when we go and my daughter takes the same friend every time. And we were talking about the times when she came when she was little. And just to see the excitement in their eyes. And my daughter saying, “Funnel cake. Can I get a funnel cake?”

I am just laughing because I had so much fun. I might have had more fun than the two girls that we took. My husband and I were just grinning ear to ear and I’m thinking, these are the epic moments in life. This is what life is really all about. And I hope you’re creating some epic moments in your life this summer, having peak experiences, engaging in some specialness. We’ve been through a lot and so it’s so nice to feel that there’s some sense of normalcy. Although I know many of us are still living in these feelings of fear. And we’re feeling like things are still out of control.

We have new problems entering. Just this week I was talking to some women in the UK, and some in Alaska, and throughout the United States as I was doing some calls with these ladies. And I hear the interest rates, and inflation, and people wanting to buy a house but now is not the right time, but it’s the right time to sell, and gas prices, and the war in Russia, Ukraine. And it’s really a lot for our nervous system to take that all in. And even if we’re not right next door, or acutely affected, we carry around this fear, this anxiety and it feels like a stress in our life.

And I know a lot of them shared with me, this leads to our drinking and overdrinking because we just want to take the pressure off. We just want to feel relaxed. We just want to turn down the noise and turn down the volume of the family, and the world around us essentially to block it all out, just for a little bit. I understand, totally understand, I used to use alcohol as my self-soother. It was my self-soother of choice. That’s why I came out with the podcast, my adult pacifier. It was really a tool I used to calm me down.

And history shows us any time there’s world wars, or big things happening in life that’s when alcohol sales go up. That’s when they start to skyrocket. Because we can’t deal with the stress and it’s a way that a lot of us feel we need to deal with stress or the only way we know to deal with stress. And I’ve shared here that I would use alcohol when I didn’t feel like parenting. And I just was like, another bath, another book, oh my gosh. I can’t keep playing with these same Legos again. And I remember thinking, gosh, I’m just a parent to one child.

How pathetic do I feel? There are moms out there raising two, three, four more kids. I feel like a wimp, couldn’t even want to parent just the one I had. And I turned to alcohol to turn down the noise of her tantrums that would just grate my nerves. Or I’d use alcohol to bury my anger because I was in this toxic relationship with my last business partner. And all the mudslinging that went on when we tried to get me out of the business and sell my shares to her. And it was so frustrating, and so stressful and so I hit the bottle. Why not? It worked. And it worked quickly especially if you chug it.

But just like I was talking to some of the women this week, they’re like, “Yeah, I just chug it, that first glass, it just feels so good. Or I take a hit of whisky or a hit of scotch, and it just feels like it calms my nerves.” And yeah, it feels like that band-aid. It’s like, it just helps take the noise down just a little, takes that stress away. And then your motto becomes what? If you’re looking at alcohol as the band-aid to our wounds in life, our problems in life then the motto becomes if one band-aid is good, let’s use the whole box of band-aids. Let’s just keep going.

Because our brain isn’t stupid, it learns quick, it’s like that worked. And then the brain says, “Let’s do it again. Yes, that’s dopamine talking. Dopamine is the do it again chemical.” And then we learn about that piece and that’s what makes us think, yeah, it’s dopamine talk and it’s dopamine’s fault, not mine. It’s my brain’s fault. I don’t have any control if my brain has been hijacked by dopamine. So why bother, why try? Or why am I successful on some days and not successful on others?

But that’s really being in this disempowered place. I call that leaving your power on the table. And when you do that you’re just siding with the habit and you’re just reinforcing the habit deeper and deeper. But what if we didn’t need that band-aid? Because instead of using a band-aid we would actually heal the wound underneath. We would actually solve for the driver of the drinking. So, if stress is causing you to drink, what if we can transform the stress in your life, could that be possible? And it turns out that the answer is yes.

And here’s the thing, I had no idea that you can actually do this. There is a great book on this called The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You and How to Get Good at It by Dr. Kelly McGonigal. And I’ll put a link to this book in the show notes. But I’ll tell you, this concept is foreign to many of us because we’ve been taught that all stress is bad. But that’s not true. Think about the stress you put your muscles under when you lift weights or when you exercise. You’re lifting weights, you’re running, you’re doing things. And it’s putting stress on your muscles.

Your muscles are tearing. They’re micro tears. And the stress is good for your muscles because it builds the muscle. We break down the muscle with these micro tears and then we rest and it repairs the muscle. And then the muscle grows, it gets bigger, it gets stronger, it gets leaner. Think about if you didn’t put your muscles under any stress, what would happen to them? Your muscles would get flabby. They would wiggle and jiggle. And then they would start to atrophy. And if we never put our muscles under stress that would be bad for our bodies.

We stretch our muscles to keep our flexibility and keep our range of motion. That type of stress is good stress. If we didn’t use our brains and we just vegged out all day long consuming TV we would start to cognitively decline because we wouldn’t be using our full brain because we are not meant to be stress free. We are not meant to live idle a 100% of the time. Our bodies were built to withstand pressure and some stress. Think about gravity, that’s pressure, pulling down on our bodies. Think about how a diamond is made, under extreme pressure.

Now, I’m not talking that we have to experience extreme pressure because that’s bad for our bodies, we know that, tension and that amount of pressure and stress, not good. But that’s not to say we should be stress free or without any stress because some amount of stress is good for our bodies and it improves our life. Think about having no muscle tone. You wouldn’t be able to walk. You wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. You wouldn’t be able to do the activities of normal daily living.

So, let’s break down what we actually mean when we say stress because I think we use it in our society as a blanketed term. It’s like every emotion underneath the sun. Some of us call it pressure. I feel so much pressure at work. I feel so much pressure when I’m watching the kids. Or I feel tension. Some people call it overwhelm because they just have too much to do in their day. Or is stress more like feeling frazzled. Or some people when they say, “I’m stressed.” They’re drained, they’re tired, they’re burnt out.

And some people call stress is when they’re revved up and they’re anxious. And they have this upcoming deadline and they’ve got to get all the stuff done and they feel pressure for time. So, think about how you use this word ‘stress’ because I feel in society we use it as a very overarching term to accommodate for all of those feelings I just mentioned, all of those examples. I feel stressed because my car just broken down or I got a flat tire. Now, when we lump it in one big ball like that it does feel all-encompassing and there’s no solution.

But I really like how Dr. McGonigal frames and defines stress in her book. She says that stress is what arises when something you care about is at stake. Think about that. Something you care about, not only that, you are also concerned about the stakes or the outcome. And with that definition I think we would all agree that we want to care about things in our life. Can you imagine going through life not caring about anything? Your car gets a flat tire. Doesn’t matter. The water heater broke in the dead of winter. Doesn’t matter, I don’t care. I’m just ignoring it. Not a problem.

Your kids, your job, your health, your life, I don’t care. I don’t care about the outcomes. You don’t care about the outcomes of your kid, your life, your job. That sounds to me that you have nothing really to be living for. And people who feel this way have severe depression and are non-functional. Not caring about anything is a terrible and I’d even argue, a horrific way to live because if you don’t care about anything, what’s the point? What’s the purpose of life? How you spend your days, you don’t have direction, you don’t have a goal, you’re not even motivated to do anything.

So, in actuality we want a life with a type of stress that improves our life, a type of stress that benefits us, a type of stress that’s actually fun. Why do people do challenges, sign up for races and iron man’s and do cleanses, and all of these things that are challenges? They made the stress fun and there’s a purpose behind it. There’s camaraderie in a lot of these group things too. And I’m all for inviting good stress into our lives that improves our lives.

The problem with these short term challenges is that we want those benefits long term. So, the goal is, how can we make these things sustainable? It’s like when people take a break from alcohol for 30 days. It feels so good and they want those results again but then they go back to drinking. And it’s like they want those changes to be sustainable but they felt good when they were doing these challenges, and these cleanses, and these abstinent periods. So, if we like those changes that we get, why don’t we keep doing them? Why don’t we make them long term?

It’s like our mind says, “Been there, done that. Check that box.” But we want to find a way to make it sustainable. And when you transform your stress you can make it sustainable. Now, I want to say something very clear here is I’m saying transform your stress. Notice I’m not saying, manage your stress. Because then we keep in the bad stress in our life and we just have to find a way to cope with it. I’m not saying that.

I’m saying, transform stress into good stress that improves your life, like exercise when you do it, it improves your life. It’s a form of good stress. And this month inside Epic You which all the members of the Drink Less Lifestyle program have access to, we will be transforming your stress and transforming that stress into good stress. And we will also be looking at what stress can’t be transformed to good stress for you because maybe then it is bad stress and it needs to go.

Because if you’re overdrinking and it’s because you have stress and the reason you know this is because you say, “I’m just drinking to take the edge off, or the pressure off because I feel like I have to keep it together all week long, or together all day long. And I just want to not be on all the time. I just want that break at the end of the day or that break on the weekends. And then I go and overdo it.” Well, I’m not telling you to manage your stress. I’m telling you to transform your stress so it’s all good stress so it’s improving your life and you don’t feel like you’re in a pressure cooker.

You don’t feel like you have to be perfect and keep it all together. You learn how to heal the stress along the day or along the week, so you don’t have to overdrink because you didn’t transform it along the way. When we actually heal, the nature of what’s causing that wound in our life, we won’t need the band-aid and a whole box of band-aids. We won’t need a drink and the whole bottle. We won’t need the copious shots in our life to be able to manage the stress. We’ll actually change the root cause. And we’ll learn to transform the stress.

And I really want you to ponder this because when you have the good stress think of the positive sides of stress. Having good stress will focus your attention towards your goals, it’ll motivate you to want to change and to create change in your life. Good stress will be a new opportunity or a challenge to grow. You’ll learn. You’ll gain new skills. You’ll see new possibilities and new solutions that you haven’t been able to see before. You’ll be able to figure out and solve things in your life. These are all the positive sides of stress.

And what we want to get rid of are the negative sides of stress that feel dangerous, that feel debilitating, threatening to your safety. Feeling like these shouldn’t be happening and that you just want to shut down, push it away, avoid it as much as possible, it’s too painful to even think about or ruminate about. This is the type of stress we want to transform. And there’s studies to show how much this benefits your life.

For example, there is a Yale study that followed middle aged adults for 20 years. Those who had a positive view of stress, meaning that they transformed their stress in their life, lived an average of 7.6 years longer than those who didn’t, 7.6 years my friends. This is lifechanging. This adds years to your life. It also adds quality to those years because when you have negative stress you’re spending more time complaining, wallowing, whining, and all the things that nobody really enjoys in their life.

But when you’re feeling challenged, and learning, and growing, and your life is improving, that’s adding quality to those years that you’re gaining. This is the kind of stuff that’s lifechanging and worth learning. Because it has real benefit and impact on your life. So, I can’t wait to help you inside Epic You on this lifechanging stuff ladies. Because I want to help you live your empowered life. We get started on this information this week.

And remember, when you join Epic You, you get access to my how to get the off button back course plus 20 other topics to improve the quality and quantity of your life. This is powerful living my friends, this is what it means to have control in your life and not live at the effect of your life. These are the skills you learn to control your drinking and to control other areas of your life so you feel amazing. So come join us inside Epic You so you can get all this valuable information to get transformation in your life. Alright my friends, live powerfully and I’ll see you next week.

Thanks for listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle. If you’re ready to change your relationship with alcohol, check out my free guide, How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit at sherryprice.com/startnow. That’s sherryprice.com/startnow. I’ll see you next week.

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