Cool It, Lady: Stress-Busting Tips From Dr. Bobbie Stevens
A few months ago, a press release from an Arizona-based PR firm hit my inbox. Dear Reader, you know we focus on Florida - that’s what FBP is all about. News that pertains to better beauty and wellness ideas specifically for our Sunshine State sisters is our MO.
While I’m usually quick to hit delete, the dateline was Naples, FL, so I read on about Dr. Bobbie Stevens and her new book, “A Call To Action: Making Sense of the Chaos” which shares her tips for empowering people to create positive change - in their lives and their world. She’s also co-founder and CEO of Unlimited Futures, LLC, and The American Institute for Creativity, Health and Productivity.
Here’s the quote that got me: “A person living in fear and severe stress is no longer able to see possibilities and can feel helpless and hopeless. This book is about providing hope, answers and a plan for creating the change we want and need.”
I’ve been BEYOND stressed and depressed this year and won’t bore you with the deets but that bitch Irma started it.
Given Florida’s loosey-goosey willingness to share every registered voter’s address and phone number, I Googled Dr. Bobbie and discovered that she was a neighbor on our tiny peninsula, or as we say on Capri, a friend I haven’t yet met. Since the publicist never returned my email, I went to Bobbie's website, filled out the contact form and hoped she would reply.
We made an appointment to meet at her home for a chat over herbal tea and homemade brownies. Since her condo board prohibits golf carts, and horrifying winged-pests were going to make the 1.7-mile walk annoying, I drove. #lazytoo
We talked about her background: seriously, this woman is a cross between Mary Richards (remember Mary Tyler Moore?) and Mad Men’s Megan - in a really good way.
Since all her friends were doing it and she didn’t want to hurt her boyfriend, Bobbie married right out of high school in Vincent, AL at 18. They lived in a very rural area and she was bored out of her mind.
Post-divorce and 22, she headed for the big city — Birmingham — enrolling both in modeling school, which taught her to dream big, and college. Realizing she was too petite to compete with the likes of Twiggy, she moved to Minneapolis to work as a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines, traveling the world in a first-class cabin while also becoming a young real estate magnate. Throughout, she continued school, earning her PhD, and began practicing as a psychologist.
I think of her as a practical philosopher.
The way she described her positive thinking approach to life reminded me of Rocky Horror’s “Don’t Dream It, Be It” song. “We create our own experiences,” she explained using seven steps in the creative process: clarity/knowing what you want; visualization/live it in your imagination; acceptance; focus; intuitive inspiration; action; and manifestation - making it happen.
5 Takeaway Tips
While much of her new book is devoted to mindfulness and the theory of everything (a lot of which would require thesis-length writing), Bobbie offered a few easy solutions to tame your pain, namely:
1. Swap the Xanax for yoga and meditation: Bobbie was an early adopter of yoga and meditation in the late 1960s - once the Beatles made it a thing - as an effort to quit smoking. It worked and she was never tempted again.
While a taking few classes to glean technique is okay, to max the benefits for beating stress, both are best-practiced solo for at least 15 minutes every single day. Notes Bobbie, “Yoga classes are more a social thing; if you want to work on yourself, do it alone.”
2. Connect the dots between stress, weight gain and hair loss: “What’s going on inside is always reflected in our exterior appearance.” Bobbie’s earlier e-book (free on her site), Understanding Stress: How to Relieve the Stress, Boost Your Energy and Discover a Whole New Life, addresses how stress affects every facet of our lives, including beauty issues. “The nervous system stores stress and everyone needs a daily wellness regimen to relieve it.”
3. Believe that age is a state of mind: Belief guides our thinking and intentions. “If you believe aging means you’ll fall apart, you will.”
4. Realize that booze isn't your buddy: So...just who are those gals cocktailing at the Island Gypsy at 1 pm? Women who might not have any better ideas about how to entertain themselves. “Stop alleviating your discomfort and self-medicating with food, alcohol and drugs. Instead, fill your days with something that matters to you or makes a difference to the world around you. Drinking is a harmful form of entertainment.”
5. Get and stay busy (and consider helping others): As a psychologist, she’s noticed that usually, around 40, women start paying attention to their vast array of problems. Her suggestion: “Do something that effects positive change, if not for yourself, for others.” Meaning, if you can’t work on yourself, at least do something that benefits the world around you. From mentoring to volunteering for a cause you believe in, do it frequently.
Visit her website to learn more, like how to score a coveted ticket for her upcoming lecture in Florence, Italy.
(ADORABLE) PHOTO CREDIT: TYLER NIX