Discover Your Best Stress Zone

optimal stress

This week we are very fortunate to have Dr. Carol Scott. She is going to talk about Your Best Stress Zone. Dr. Scott is an emergency physician in health education, trained at John Hopkins. She is an expert on the connections between stress and health and developer of the Best Stress Zone Concept, which will be the focus of our talk today.

She has taken her messages from the emergency room to the boardroom across the country. Here clients have included Microsoft, UPS, Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, IBM, Discovery, and many more.

In today’s program Carol will share her insights on stress relief as both a top performer and as a coach for top performers based on her book, “Discover Your Best Stress Zone: A Health and Wellness Guide for Women,” John Wiley & Sons Publishers.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Thank you Relly. It’s a delight to be here and to be with friends, and certainly we are going to hear a lot today about stress. Carol Scott is one of the foremost authorities on stress. She is going to not only help us understand stress but define it for us.


Carol and I met, I guess, almost five or six years ago when Marshall Goldsmith introduced us. We had the luxury of spending some time together at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women. Welcome to the show. I just want to give our audience a little bit of background on you. Please feel free to jump in.

Dr. Scott, as we said, is an emergency medical professional. She is also an educator. She has a Masters of Science in Education but she’s also a board certified emergency medicine practitioner. She has also served as a charter board member of the Family Violence Prevention Fund. Her book, “Discover Your Best Stress Zone: A Health and Wellness Guide for Women,” is a must read.

Dr. Scott is an expert on the connections between stress and health and she is the developer of the Best Stress Zone Concept. As a highly sought after consultant, she is also a speaker and one-on-one stress relief coach and she has basically taken her work out of the emergency room and into the boardroom, thank goodness.

Dr. Carol Scott’s work has been described in a Fast Company profile as helping participants and clients gain knowledge, resilience, specific strategies, and motivation to live with less stress and improved health. As a speaker she has been acclaimed for her unique ability to blend expertise in medicine with an authentic, inspiring style. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

Her communications have been found in the boardrooms and the corporate Fortune 500, including Price Waterhouse Cooper, Working Mother’s Best 100 Companies, Lifework Congress, and we know that Working Mother Magazine publishes that 100 Best Companies every year and people just really clamor to get on that list, Texas Instruments, Professional Business Women of California, Civil Service Employee’s Union, Washington Business Group on Health, Motorola, Johnson & Johnson, Director of Senior Women’s Leadership Program, the Boston College Round Table on Work Life, and the Global Consulting Group.

She customizes her programs and she also has a customized web-based stress relief program which has been delivered to over 5,000 women of IBM. Dr. Scott presents regularly for the Merrill Lynch University.

We are going to jump right in and say hello to Carol and ask you, Carol, if you would just kindly tell us a little bit about yourself, and I think Relly has some additional questions.

Dr. Carol Scott: Well, thank you so much, you were very generous with your introductions. It’s a pleasure to be here with you and Relly today. I really do look forward to the time we are going to spend together. You asked me about myself. I’m an emergency physician as you described, and my journey to study medicine, internal medicine and emergency medicine, really lead me to see so many patients with disorders that I’m sure you and I both have relatives who have, and perhaps some of these are disorders or concerns that we might have ourselves; that’s heart attacks, poor concentration, diabetes, hypertension, just irritable bowel disease, headaches and migraines. I began to explore and wonder about why so many patients were coming into the emergency room with problems that were preventable, but more importantly, problems that probably related to stress.

Mind you, I’m on a journey and I continue to be on this journey, so my observations were in part, because of my own experiences as you described; being a working mom, and taking care of my kids, and trying to be the best wife, the best mom, the best cook, the best driver, and so on. I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to then begin to look at and study stress more carefully and to think about it a little differently and then to develop some models that fortunately have been received well by others in terms of helping them think about stress just a little differently.

Obviously there isn’t anything new, but it’s really gaining perhaps a unique or different way to think about some of things that we experience so that we don’t have to have some of those medical problems.

Dr. Relly Nadler: You have a lot of great information here and let’s start off with, “what is stress?” Then, “how does it work?” Then we can get into more specific stuff. How would you define that?

Dr. Carol Scott: Stress is a term that has different meanings to different people, in fact, that is one of the core concepts of stress and thinking about stress relief. So all can be on the same page. I think we can use this phrase, or definition that I think most people can buy into. I would like your comments and thoughts about it.

It’s a term that we commonly use when we want to refer to a situation or experience that causes you to feel anxious, frustrated, or irritable; usually because you are pushed beyond your ability to successfully cope, in fact you feel out of balance because we use that term a lot. Stress really makes you feel out of balance. Does that resonate with you?

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Oh ya.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Yes, kind of all around us. I’m sure that is why the work you do is so popular, that everybody you are going to talk to is on the continuum of having stress. So that means they are all somewhat out of balance.

Dr. Carol Scott: That’s true, and the reality is that having a balanced life and not having disheveled or a disrupted life that we get when we are experiencing “stress,” is really about having balance; brain biochemistry. That’s part of the core of understanding of what my approach is in helping people think about stress.

Stress is a condition that is the interaction of the mind and the body. It’s in the mind that we interpret situations and that interpretation gets communicated to the body; to the heart, to the immune system, to the GI tract, to the skin and other body systems. When stressful situations occur, like what is occurring to so many of us in our society right now is finding yourself unemployed, the numbers aren’t adding up when you look at your budget, and those situations, those events cause a trigger for a series of responses. Those responses really help us define what I call the Stress Process, because it’s about a cause and effect trigger. A trigger can be something that’s acute, and acute disruption in our lives; it can be something that’s chronic-something that’s going on all of the time that is a disparity in your life. The difference perhaps between what you are experiencing and what you want. You’re living in the city and you want to live in the country and other things that could be going on in your life.Then there are those natural disasters that occur.

Now these are the types of triggers; there are generally four of them:

  1. Acute
  2. Chronic
  3. Something that is natural disaster or it can be manmade. The ultimate disease or disorder that we have from that is PTSD.
  4. Then there can be just those daily annoyances and hassles.

Those triggers then become perceived by us and lead to a series of responses, and there are four types of responses:

  1. Biological response
  2. Behavioral responses
  3. Psychological responses
  4. Emotional responses

Listen to the complete interview above, without commercials.


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