The American Institute of Stress cites 69% of people are stressed by their perception of a lack of time and money. Tenenbaum, a NeuroTransformational Coach and regular contributor to the meditation app Insight Timer, offers a way toward P.E.A.C.E. for everyone. One Tenenbaum client used her brain-based coaching approach and went from being in debt on a five-figure salary to being debt-free and earning seven figures in just two years.
“I coach high achievers so that they really understand how they can rewire their brains to slow down, mitigate stress, build resilience, foster collaboration, and ignite innovation,” Tenenbaum says. “I’m coaching the people who are changing the future.”
Tenenbaum embraces the words “I AM Living” as her brand, which is an acronym for Intentional, Abundant, Mindful. These are also the key tenets to face challenges and transform stress into success.
“Remember,” says Tenenbaum, “stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand — so notice what your body is telling you. In short bursts, stress can be positive. In fact, it may help you avoid danger or meet a deadline. However, when stress overloads your brain and distances you from your true goals, my acronym P.E.A.C.E. can help you retrain your brain easily and effectively. Note these are not linear; you use them holistically, meaning you can mix and match as you need them. However, when engaged together, they produce the best results. The first step, by the way, is the most important one:
When you pause you can reflect on what you’re predicting might happen. Think of your brain as a prediction machine. A simple pause gives you (and your brain) space to look at the situation anew. You can step out of your limbic system and into your executive functioning. In other words, you step out of your emotional, reactive response and into flexible open-mindedness that will lead you more closely to your chosen and created life goals. “Pausing,” says Tenenbaum, “is the first essential step toward conscious leadership, conscious living, connection, and communication.”
Embrace how you feel and what you cannot change. Have self-awareness for where you are. Embrace and accept what you cannot change about the circumstances. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “If there are circumstances that you cannot change, then it’s no use beating your head against a brick wall; that just gives you a headache.”
Acknowledge what it is that you want. Be clear about your circumstances. Again, consider your greater goals. Tenenbaum recommends asking these two questions: 1) What do you want? 2) What habits or actions of yours will get in the way? With the former question, Tenenbaum teaches leaders, high-performing individuals such as CEOs, elite athletes, and academics to ask questions like, “What do I want from this situation? What is the greatest ideal outcome? Is this relationship one that will move me toward or away from my commitments? What do I want the big picture for this scenario to look like? Says Tenenbaum, “The ability to step back and embrace circumstances against future goals sets the stage to build brain pathways that lead you to the life you ultimately desire.” With the second question, essentially, this step is simply telling the truth. To do so, Tenenbaum trains leaders to reflect on, and name their habits, thoughts, and actions that could get in the way of what they actually want. Then list them against “non-negotiables.” This is the ultimate in super-charging: saying no to what doesn’t matter and yes to what does matter.
Choose a new action (or nonaction) given what you’ve acknowledged you cannot change and given your greater goals. Asking yourself questions is a great way to choose a new empowered response.
Powerful questions to consider:
Ask: Am I seeking justification or retribution? (These choices often point to a need for a dopamine kick, aka the drug of anticipation.)
Ask: Am I being driven by cortisol? (The drug associated with stress and anxiety, which can heighten our need to mobilize and take action.)
Ask: Given what I have acknowledged I cannot change, and given the greatest possible outcome, what different action or non-action can I take that would further that agenda?
Ask: How can I speak or respond in a way that I will be heard? (Acknowledge that a high-pitched, aggressive OR defensive stance drastically lowers the probability of being truly heard and instead, further inflames a situation as well as how YOU hear things might be different from how another can hear things)
Ask: What choice will best maintain my inner peace, now and in the days to come? Am I choosing from a greater desire? Are my actions aligned with my desire to maintain inner peace? (This choice is engaging more elements of the brain.)
To choose powerfully simply means you are considering your own constraints as well as those of the people around you. Once you see the humanity you feel, and what others are facing, you have not only dissolved the walls of separation, but you can also choose what’s best for yourself while also considering authentic commitments for all. Critical to this process is first having compassion for yourself.
“Engage wholeheartedly with every element of you,” coaches Tenenbaum. One way to engage fully is to focus on how you may feel after your engagement. If you want to protect your inner peace, respond in a way that respects you. Engage while keeping your cool. Do not allow a limbic (emotional) hijack to take over your brain and your body. You can continue old habits, but at the end of the day, this won’t get you the results you want. People who react to stress without being responsible (read: response-able) are simply choosing a knee-jerk reaction. They are choosing a dopamine hit because it’s learned, it’s easy, and it’s addictive.
Once you learn to practice P.E.A.C.E., you will start to mitigate your own stress levels. Undue stress impacts your memory and ability to learn, and it also wears down your telomeres which have a direct impact on health and illness. (These protect the ends of your chromosomes by forming a cap, much like the plastic tip on shoelaces.) Most of the time when you are stressed out, you might blame it on others — but you cannot control anyone else. You can only control yourself.
“At the end of the day, judgment creates a barrier between yourself and others,” teaches Tenenbaum. When you pause before action, embrace how you feel, acknowledge what’s true, choose a new action (or nonaction), and then engage wholeheartedly, judgment is abated and curiosity lit. This is authentic P.E.A.C.E. Tenenbaum coaches, “Curiosity and compassion create connection. So, stop judging and start being curious.”
Rachel Tenenbaum is a NeuroTransformational Coach who teaches leaders how to defuse stress, catapult collaboration, foster innovation, retrain their brain, and lead others in a process she calls P.E.A.C.E. (Pause Embrace Acknowledge Choose Engage). A regular media contributor, Tenenbaum is published in Forbes, Thrive Global, and her meditations are featured favorites on the global meditation app Insight Timer. Tenenbaum is a sought-after expert on the brain, stress, leadership development, and mindfulness. Learn more at her website IAMLiving.us.