Stairs at Cedar Ridge

Stress is not bad. In fact it is necessary for life. It fuels our creativity and learning — not to mention our very survival as a species. Stress sparks our forward movement and can be a symptom of our growth. Stress and relaxation, contraction and release, being “stirred up” and then remembering to let go– there is meaning in this pattern. If we all sat around completely centered all the time we might not learn as much (or we might just be pretending.) To be human is a dynamic process and stress is one of the names we give to this push/pull or creative tension through which we discover and build a life. (So no more feeling guilty when you get stressed out– it is part of being human, no one avoids it entirely!)

Stress is only harmful when it becomes overwhelming and interrupts the healthy state of equilibrium that your nervous system needs to remain in balance.

This month I’m doing a series on stress… and the best practices for grounding and releasing it. (Thought we might all need these techniques well in hand as we transition into the holiday season.)

So how do we climb out of stress? By climbing back into our body.

This week I share a guided meditation Ground Your Stress which walks you through the process.

More sophisticated than a simple body scan, this practice actually allows your sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) to balance back out so you can literally reinhabit your body and ground frantic thoughts or concerns.

Again and again I am reminded that the path of conscious living is not about “pushing the spiritual bypass button” and pretending we feel more relaxed or less stressed, but is instead in meeting our real felt state with compassion. And getting the resources we need to reset.

I hope you enjoy the practice and the series. Please share with someone who might benefit from it.


Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a popular blog on soulful living. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and MindBody practices as well as supporting other “soulpreneurs,” aka women who want to lead with heart in their work + lives. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. You can read more about her coaching options here or Courtney can be reached directly at