“Until recently, I felt the only tool to combat stress was mediation.  Meditation is tough to perform, it is hard to build a routine, and it is even harder to sell to others who are badly in need of stress relief.”


My alarm starts talking to me at 5:30 in the morning on a Sunday!  The night before I agreed to accompany my father to the first lecture at his annual dental reviews that he hosts at Mayo Clinic.  The speaker was a woman who helped run the stress free and resiliency training there at Mayo.


I reluctantly get up, because I think it will be just another lecture on the importance of mediation to combat stress.


My dad and I arrive to the Civic Center in Rochester Minnesota around 6:30.  It was a short drive from my parents house, and we are the first ones there, besides a few women who are setting up to check people in.  Luckily for me there is free breakfast and coffee and I head to get first dibs.


As others arrive, I begin to feel a bit out of place, being the only physical therapist among all dentists and other dental specialists.


Debbie, the speaker, walks in and says hello to my dad.  He introduces me to her and goes on to tell her how I have always taken a particular interest in stress management and am looking for a way to help my patients with their daily struggles with stress.


She has a warm personality and is someone that you would love to sit down and have coffee with every morning.


She begins to tell me about the program they have developed and how they are teaching practitioners like myself to implement these methods into their daily practice for their clients or patients.  I am fascinated.


She goes on to tell me that the program is called Transform and you spend a weekend learning from Dr. Amit Sood, who is the designer of the Stress Management and Resiliency Training (S.M.A.R.T) program.  There is then a 6 month distance learning with teleconference every month.


This is exactly what I have been searching for since my career started!


The lecture is fantastic and now I know I’m in, I’m sold.


The program begins with understanding how the brain and the mind work by taking you through a back stage tour.  We learn exactly what stress does to our mind and why we aren’t equipped to deal with this 20th century daily stress.


You then learn about attention training and how to enhance your ability to maintain focus and attention in order to improve memory.  The brain has two modes, focus mode and default mode.


Once our attention is under our control we then use 5 principles.


We can reframe life challenges by using these higher level principles each day.  The five principles are:

  1. Gratitude- finding the good in all things
  2. Compassion- be kind to others
  3. Acceptance- creatively working with what is
  4. Higher Meaning
  5. Forgiveness


The idea behind the program is to not add more to your life but to enhance your life.  Instead of adding more milk to your glass we are adding a splash of chocolate syrup.


With the brain being overloaded each day with stress and all other aspects of life, we have two options.  We can decrease the load, which for the most part is not possible.  Or we can increase the capacity by learning resiliancy and stress management through this program.




“Resilience is the core strength you use to lift the load of life and it is doing well when you shouldn’t be doing well” – Dr. Amit Sood