Breathe Design

Living in a world of Stress

Work related stress, anxiety and depression statistics in Great Britain 2016

  • The total number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was 488,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1510 per 100,000 workers.
  • The number of new cases was 224,000, an incidence rate of 690 per 100,000 workers. The estimated number and rate have remained broadly flat for more than a decade.
  • The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2015/16 was 11.7 million days. This equated to an average of 23.9 days lost per case. Working days lost per worker showed a generally downward trend up to around 2009/10; since then the rate has been broadly flat.
  • In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work-related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health.
  • Stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education; health and social care; and public administration and defence.
  • By occupation, jobs that are common across public service industries (such as healthcare workers; teaching professionals; business, media and public service professionals) show higher levels of stress as compared to all jobs.
  • The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work-related stress, depression or anxiety (LFS) were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support  


Removing unproductive Stress

If you had the choice to live a life full of unproductive stress or to live a life where your stress only came from decisions equating to should I have cream or ice-cream with my cheesecake, which would you choose? Of course, you would choose the organic fresh raw Jersey cream.
Most of the time we do not give ourselves a choice. Unproductive stress has a very sneaky way of consuming thought processes and creating false beliefs. These false beliefs become our reality and this reality controls how we conduct our lives.   
Unproductive stress has been something of a familiar state of mind for me over the years often presenting itself in different forms. Not been satisfied with my belief that unproductive stress was just part of life I added another false belief which was that I could use unproductive stress to be productive. True, I probably was productive up to a point but at what cost was all this stress putting on my body. It wasn’t until a couple of months after a close friend unexpectedly died at age 41 of a heart attack, a consequence of undiagnosed ischemic heart disease that I finally sat down and thought about my own health. It became clear that having the amount of unproductive stress in my life that I was creating was not adding anything positive to my life.  
My challenge to myself starting 1st of January 2017 is to remove all unproductive stress from my life. As I’m currently taking my diploma in applied permaculture design it makes sense to use the permaculture design framework to create a design that not only works in the short term but more importantly a design which is sustainable over the long term.

Design Web

For this design, I’ve taken the anchor points that I feel necessary from Looby Macnamara’s design web to help me focus towards achieving not just reducing the unnecessary stress from my life but to removing all unnecessary stress from my life.


"I do not promise to believe tomorrow exactly what I believe today, and I do not believe today exactly what I believed yesterday. I expect to make, as I have made, some honest progress within every succeeding twenty-four hours." Andrew Jackson Davis - Beyond the Valley (1885)

Allow yourself to dream and create goals.

Why do I need a plan to remove stress from my life?

 Often feel overwhelmed
Not able to finish the things I start
I’ve gained the belief “I do not have enough time”
I would like to understand who I am not


What is my ideal when it comes to stress?

To observe it and let it move away from me


What are my wildest dreams now that I have removed stress from my life?

To experience who I am


“It’s a good idea always to do something relaxing prior to making an important decision in your life.”
– Paulo Coelho

Identify the things that are going to help. 

A diet that is adapted to my bodies needs
Regular exercise routines
Daily practices

What are my motivations for a change?

A very close friend suddenly dying at age 41 with undiagnosed heart disease
The awareness that I’ve become disconnected with death
Stress from work beginning to consume me
Gaining endless false beliefs
April 2017
Learning I've got very high cholesterol 


What resources do I have within me?

Knowledge gained from reading many books
Knowledge gained from workshops and courses
Knowledge gained from conferences
Knowledge gained from ceremonies
Knowledge gained from listening to learnt people
Knowledge gained from life experiences


What external resources are available to me?

A vast personal library of books
A vast personal library of digital audio material
The internet
Beautiful local countryside
A partner who is a holistic therapist


“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there.’
– Eckhart Tolle

Identify what blocks the path, what might keep it small or slow it down.

What’s holding me back?

False rules and beliefs


What are my limiting factors?

Not giving myself the time needed to change


Why would I not want to change?

Fear of failure


"Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart, and intuition."
-Steve Jobs

Identify helpful and unhelpful patterns.

What current patterns of thinking, behaving and interacting are bringing stress into my life?

Not enough time
Been constantly busy
Wanting to do so many things
Taking on more work than I have time to do
Striving for perfection in some of the things I do
Believing I need to do everything myself
Believing it’s quicker to do it myself
Trying to please everybody
Not giving enough time to some of the more important people in my life
Often overlooking that I’m eating the correct nutrition
Not getting enough quality sleep
Not exercising enough
Not giving myself the time for my spiritual practice
Been angry with myself and others
Not been able to say no to other people
Not able to share my emotions with other people
Often been the one who organises things
April 2017
Other people's false beliefs regarding health 

What spirals of erosion can I identify?

Not loving myself
Not showing love towards other people


What would a spiral of abundance look like?

Loving myself and others


What patterns from nature, other people or different actives could help within my design?

In nature, everything is connected, learning to become connected again
Listen and act upon my inner voice
Bring more movement into my life


“If you want the best the world has to offer, offer the world your best.”
― Neale Donald Walsch

Gather inspirations

What creative, adventurous, wild and wacky ideas do I have?

Redesign my own map of reality
Complete this permaculture design
Not work as much
Live in a yurt

What big, little, practical, routine ideas do I have?

Sleep hacking
Heart rate variability
Closer attention to eating
Experimenting with different supplements
Listening to more live music/gigs
Sitting around more campfires
Daily gratitude practice
Abundance practice
Resistance training
Foam roller workout
Spend more time in nature
Allotment and garden time

What seeds of ideas do I have?

Group share


"When everything is lost, and all seems darkness, then comes the new life and all that is needed."
-Joseph Campbell

Bring it all together.

How can I integrate the information already gathered?

Morning routine
Evening routine
Organise my days
Plan trips away
Plan days away


What are my needs within the design?

Understanding from other people why I’m doing the things I’m doing
Monitor progress


What systems could be put in place to meet those needs?

Phone apps to help monitor progress
Share this design with people
Spreadsheets for documentation
Sharing the latest research on such topics as health


“Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you'd like to act.”
― Bob Dylan

Make a plan for getting things done.

What am I going to do and when?

Things already started

Morning routine: 1hr meditation, 30 minutes yoga, breakfast- Bulletproof Coffee, morning gratitude practice, inspirational video
12-week creating abundance course
Sleep hacking
 Heart rate variability
Closer attention to eating
Experimenting with different supplements
Daily foam roller workout
1-hour minimum reading Monday to Friday
2-hour minimum reading Saturday, Sunday
April 2017
ketogenic diet
Daily exercise routine

Things planned

Summer festival

 Things Done

Comedy Gig March
Redesign front garden


What resources do I need?

Somewhere local to have campfires

What yields and benefits am I going to get?

A calm mind
Amazing health
Abundance in everything I do


"Success comes from taking the initiative and following up... persisting... eloquently expressing the depth of your love. What simple action could you take today to produce a new momentum toward success in your life?"
-Tony Robbins

Consider how to keep going.

How am I going to maintain momentum?

Keep reading over my design objectives

How am I going to build and increase momentum?

Design a simple bullet point list of hacks to quickly refresh my thinking when it come to stress
Write blog posts
Watch inspirational videos related to self-improvement
Read inspirational books related to self-improvement
Listen to inspirational audio related to self-improvement
Keep up to date with the latest research 

What support might I need to keep moving towards my vision?

Feedback from people who know me to see if they have noticed any difference in my behavior
Other people to believe in me


"Nature's beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude."
-Louie Schwartzberg 

Focus on the things to be thankful for.

What can I appreciate about myself?

That I am enough


What can I appreciate about other people and the world around me?

That everybody experiences their own daily problems
That everybody wants the end goal to be happy
The world in full of abundance  


How do I feel supported at the moment?

From the inspirational people, I’m listening to
From all the reading I’m doing
From mediating more
From my morning routine
From better sleep
From an even better diet
From adding additional supplements
From planning out my days better


“Indigenous people believe that Man belongs to the World; civilised people believe that the World belongs to Man.”
- Daniel Quinn

Evaluate progress.

What is the current situation?

April 2017
Finding out I have got very high cholesterol has added a lot of stress to my current situation
I'm currently in the middle of buying a house which has added stress to my current situation


What is going well?

Filling in some gaps in my knowledge about health

What is challenging?

Choosing to follow the latest research about cholesterol which goes against people's beliefs about cholesterol


"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."
- Hunter S. Thompson

Incorporate times of rest and rejuvenation.

How can I recharge my batteries?

April 2017
 Read novels
Photograph nature


How can I make times of rest and quiet a built-in part of my design?

April 2017
Been consistent with my morning and evening routines
Keep asking myself if I feel stressed, if yes then it's time to step back from doing something else


How can I rejuvenate myself?

April 2017
Ketogenic diet
sitting in nature
Reading for fun