The Gift of Stress
Norma T. Hollis

Have you ever considered that the stress you may be feeling is actually a gift that is priceless? When I speak to people about stress as a gift I receive the strangest looks. Most people seem to see stress as problem on top of problem. What I have found is that many things that we call stressful can be viewed as a gift with just a slight change in perspective.

Generally when you feel stress it is because there is a mismatch in some aspect of your life. Perhaps you are expecting something that didn’t materialize. Or maybe you received information that all of a sudden required you to change your day-to-day life patterns. Maybe it was something you learned about your health or the health of someone dear to you. Many of us have financial stress – this doesn’t require any explanation, especially in today’s topsy-turvy financial market. Or maybe you are having relationship issues or feeling something intangible that continues to nag at you.

Whatever the situation that is generating the stress in your life, it can be refocused with just a slight adjustment in your perspective. The perspective that I offer you is the perspective of “Authenticity”. As America’s Leading Authentic Voice Doctor® I have studied human nature for over 30 years. What I have learned has been summarized in what I call the nine dimensions of authenticity. Once you have an understanding of the nine dimensions you can assess how your life is progressing in these dimensions and this reveals to you the areas in your life that are probably causing you stress. And once you uncover this information you will then know how to modify your life to create positive change that leads to reduced stress.

The nine dimensions of authenticity are divided into three pillars which I call domains. It is based on the foundation that each of us have an authentic voice within that reminds us of the gifts and talents that are a natural part of ourselves. We have the ability to tweak our lives to live more aligned to what is authentic for us. These three important voices are Inner Voice, Outer Voice and Expressive Voice.

Inner Voice focuses on the voice that speaks within your head. The three dimensions are Intuition, Integrity and Inspiration. Not responding to the intuitive voice that speaks within can produce stress. We each have an internal GPS system that guides us from day to day. It’s the intuitive voice that answers us when we ask ourselves what to wear or what to eat. The gift is realizing that you have an intuitive voice that you are not listening to. When you decide to listen, trust and respond to that voice you remove areas of stress in your life. The Integrity portion of Inner Voice causes stress when you are associating with people who do not share your values. Friendship is a celebration of shared values. If you are in relationships with people who do not share your values you are potentially dealing with stress. What a gift to know that it’s time to change your friendships. And the dimension of Inspiration lets you know whether you are driven by internal or external forces. If you are making decisions based on the motivation of others rather than internal drive then perhaps this is the foundation of stress you may be feeling.

Outer Voice focuses on how others perceive you. The three dimensions are Net Wellness, Net Work and Net Wealth. Net Wellness relates to your overall health. There’s no need for explanation about how health issues can cause stress. When health is an issue it is probably dominating your thoughts and this is certainly stressful. Recognizing that you have wellness issues that you might not be addressing is a gift that will reduce stress once dealt with. And when you deal with health from a preventive angle you reduce stress significantly by creating more security regarding the potential for health issues. Net Work refers to the quality and quantity of your relationships. When you do not have close friends or cannot find the people that you need to move forward in life this may be a source of stress. Perhaps it’s time to expand your network. And when I mention Net Wealth people generally think first of money. When you do this you set yourself up for stress because most of us never have enough money. However when you tweak your thoughts to see Net Wealth as the things that provide abundance and joy in your life you have the opportunity to assess the degree to which you have focused on financial issues rather than issues of abundance and joy.

Expressive Voice refers to how you share yourself with the world. The three dimensions are Legacy, Likeability and Lifestyle. Legacy refers not only to what you leave to your heirs but also the gifts and talents that you were born with. If you have certain gifts and talents that you are not using then certainly you are feeling stress. What a gift to realize that you can find work or hobbies that honor your natural gifts and talents. Likeability is your personality. When you are not feeling your best self you may be a little stressed. This becomes a problem when you begin to forget your best personality and too frequently show your personality that is less desirable. You give yourself a gift when you share your best self. And finally Lifestyle refers to your day-to-day habits. If you are not using your time wisely, rushing through life or otherwise engaged in stress producing habits you have the opportunity to change what you do and create a lifestyle that celebrates you and your achievements.

By considering that stress is a gift you can gain tremendous awareness of how you might want to tweak your life to increase your overall satisfaction and joy. A stress reduced life of joy and abundance awaits you.

Author's Bio: 

Norma T. Hollis is America’s Leading Authentic Voice Doctor®. Her Authenticity Audits provide prescriptions to help people find, live and share their authentic voice. Her programs focus on numerous aspects of authenticity – stress reduction, time management, leadership, parenting, communication and overall personal development. She also has in-depth workbooks and audios on each of the nine dimensions. Take her free Authenticity Assessment by going to and clicking #3. Be sure to sign up for her free Authentic Tuesday teleseminars. Contact Norma for speaking engagements, coaching programs and an Authenticity Audit at