Actively Prioritize Pleasure. Don’t save it for last, instead do something that feels really good for you first. Filling your own cup first isn’t selfish, it allows you to feel better, happier and more energized so that you can then give more to your family, in your work and in all areas of your life. I recommend that you let go of any resistance you might have to pleasure and fully embrace feeling good and having fun more often. Having a good mindset around pleasure makes the experience of it more pleasurable. When I began to prioritize pleasure a couple of years ago I very quickly began to feel more passion for my work, I had more energy and the back pain I was often feeling began to dissipate.
With all that’s going on in our country, in our economy, in the world, and on social media, it feels like so many of us are under a great deal of stress. We know that chronic stress can be as unhealthy as smoking a quarter of a pack a day. For many of us, our work, our livelihood, is a particular cause of stress. Of course, a bit of stress is just fine, but what are stress management strategies that leaders use to become “Stress-Proof” at work? What are some great tweaks, hacks, and tips that help to reduce or even eliminate stress from work? As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Laura Isabella Machny.
Laura Isabella Machny is a Spiritual Life Coach, a Certified Tantra Teacher, Reiki Practitioner, World Traveller and Joy Goddess. Laura is passionate about helping people release what is holding them back so that they can gain momentum, achieve what they want, reach their full potential and truly thrive in love and life. She is an expert in Self Love, Pleasure, Intimacy and Joy. Laura’s bigger vision is to create a more conscious, spiritually awakened and loving world one person at a time.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to know how you got from “there to here.” Inspire us with your backstory!
Of course! I have not lived a very ‘conventional’ life, so to speak. From a young age I always knew I wanted to travel the world and live abroad. So that’s exactly what I did. I packed my bag and left Canada and have since travelled to over 40 countries. During my travels I was searching for my own bigger purpose. I wanted to figure out how I could contribute to the world in a way that truly helped people and was also super fulfilling for me. I felt stuck for a long time, my passion was quickly fizzling away in my love life, as well as in my search for a meaningful career. Even though I felt a bit frustrated and stressed at this time I trusted that eventually I would figure it out and was still able to experience a lot of joy in this process. I soon began reading many ‘self help’ books, I tried out every kind of yoga and meditation on my journey of personal development and inner discovery. This ultimately led me to Reiki and Tantra. These modalities just blew the door wide open for me. I fell in love. I fell in love with myself , with my life, with what was possible. I reignited my passion and discovered what I wanted to do. I did my Reiki Practitioner certification in Australia and my Tantra Teacher Training in Bali. Now here I am, guiding people on their own journey into deeper purpose, intimacy, pleasure and joy in all areas of their lives.
What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?
Oh this is such a good question. I would tell myself, “Laura, don’t worry, you will figure it out in the exact time that is right for you.” I would tell myself that it’s okay to not have all the answers. That the journey in and of itself is the true purpose. That there is a beautiful lesson in all things and that perspective is everything. Lastly I would tell my younger self that I am good enough exactly as I am, right here and now, simply because I exist.
None of us are able to experience success without support along the way. Is there a particular person for whom you are grateful because of the support they gave you to grow you from “there to here?” Can you share that story and why you are grateful for them?
There are multiple people. Friends, family members, mentors, past partners, they know who they are. If I had to pick one person it would be my mother. She and I share a pretty special bond. She’s one of the kindest and bravest people I’ve ever known. She has always believed in me and supported me no matter what, unconditionally. She’s definitely my biggest cheerleader.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think it might help people?
Yes I am. I currently have a couple of different ways to work with me 1 on 1. Whether it is through an in depth single session or a mutliple session container that spans a few months. I have a holistic signature method I have developed over the years which addresses personal growth at all 3 levels of Mind, Body and Spirit. It incorporates Reiki Energy Healing, Tantric Embodiment Practices and Intuitive Life Coaching. In the future I also plan to run group programs and in person retreats.
The work I do helps people gain clarity, confidence and momentum so that they can achieve what they truly want to achieve in themselves and in thier lives. I guide conscious humans into deepened self love, purpose, joy, pleasure and intimacy. Whether they want to meet their dream partner and create a deeply connected and intimate relationship or if they want to wake up every day and actually be excited about their job or simply look in the mirror and love their reflection. I help people reduce varying forms of stress in their lives, release self sabatoging limiting beliefs and replace bad habits with good ones. My clients go from feeling stuck and behind to fulfilled and thriving.
Ok, thank you for sharing your inspired life. Let’s now talk about stress. How would you define stress?
Stress is a bodily response, a reaction, felt emotionally and physically from either too much unwanted pressure of an experience or an emotional rejection felt in the body to the current state or circumstance.
In the Western world, humans typically have their shelter, food, and survival needs met. So what has led to this chronic stress? Why are so many of us always stressed out?
I believe that stress is so chronic nowadays because most people are doing things they aren’t actually in love with. They aren’t prioritizing their own joy and as a result they are completely disconnected from themselves and their own pleasure. They get stuck in these repetitive patterns. They constantly think that if they just do this thing one more time, then they will finally be happy and stress free. They are running around on a hamster wheel trying to get somewhere without realizing it’s all already available to them right here and now. Many people are stuck living lives that don’t include pleasure. People have forgottan to have fun.
What are some of the physical manifestations of being under a lot of stress? How does the human body react to stress?
Stress commonly expresses itself physically. I would say that a lot of back pain is due to stress. Not being able to sit still can be stress related as well as headaches and insomnia. The mind and body are not separate. So if you are constantly ‘stressing’ — over thinking, feeling that physical pressure in your chest or throat, feeling those heavy emotions then sooner or later that energy has to go somewhere if you are not releasing it in a healthy way. Emotions are energy in motion, stress is essenially a build up of emotions which haven’t been properly processed.
Is stress necessarily a bad thing? Can stress ever be good for us?
Stress in small amounts is normal. Just like fear is. It’s okay to be stressed sometimes. Unlike fear, I wouldn’t say stress is ever good for us except that it can point you in the right direction of what ‘not to do’. Stress is a good indicator of something being off or not in alignment, so you can use it to see where you can make some changes within yourself or your life.
Is there a difference between being in a short term stressful situation versus an ongoing stress? Are there long term ramifications to living in a constant state of stress?
Emotionally and energetically in the body the reaction is the same. But of course when something is short term the effects will be different from an ongoing long term situation. Short term stress isn’t something to be too concerned about, it is normal in our every day life to experience a bit of stress now and again. Long term stress on the other hand is not at all a normal way for any person to live and expect to function well and live happily. It is draining on every level, mentally, emotionally and physically. It will likely lead to deep unhappiness, affecting relationships, work and your overall well being.
Is it even possible to eliminate stress?
I think it isn’t about eliminating stress. As some stress is quite natural. Living in a constant state of bliss isn’t reality. However, there are ways to significantly reduce stress, deal with stress in a healthy way when present, and be generally stress free the majority of time.
In your opinion, is this something that we should be raising more awareness about, or is it a relatively small issue? Please explain what you mean.
I think there should definitely be more awareness and conversation around stress and stress reduction. Too much stress for too many people is currently very real and it just isn’t healthy or natural. It seems that largely in our society we have normalized stress. That, in itself , isn’t healthy for society in my opinion. Why? Because clearly people want to be happy and fufilled and instead are largely stressed and unfulfilled. I think it’s fair to say that people in general strive to live a happy stress free life, as they should. So we should be doing as much as possible to reduce stress and begin normalizing a more ‘stress free’ world.
Let’s talk about stress at work. Numerous studies show that job stress is the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades. For you personally, if you are feeling that overall, work is going well, do you feel calm and peaceful, or is there always an underlying feeling of stress? Can you explain what you mean?
I think there are so many layers to this question. There are so many reasons people feel this way. For me personally I feel that when things are going well I generally feel quite calm and peaceful. There isn’t an underlying feeling of stress when things are flowing in the way I want them to or in a way that feels really good. On the other hand when things aren’t going so well then yes that feeling of stress is present in some form. Usually there are thoughts which make me doubt something, second guess it or worry. There are also heavy emotions which show up physically in my chest, stomach, throat or back, a pressure. Over time I have found ways to release stress and let it go more easily so that it really doesn’t last as long as it would have in the past.
Okay, fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview: Can you share with our readers your “5 stress management strategies that busy leaders can use to become “Stress-Proof” at Work?” Please share a story or example for each.
These stress management strategies are all based in Pleasure. I personally believe that we should prioritize pleasure, in all its forms, including sexual pleasure but not limited to it. Pleasure is nothing to feel guilty about. It isn’t something you need to earn or work for. Pleasure isn’t just reserved for your relationships or for the bedroom. Experiencing more pleasure before, during and after work can make work much more fun. Pleasure is easily accessible as it is largely free. In my own experience and in working with my clients I have seen how more pleasure reduces stress and increases overall joy, productivity and fulfillment. Remember, pleasure is your birthright, so lets dive in!
- Actively Prioritize Pleasure. Don’t save it for last, instead do something that feels really good for you first. Filling your own cup first isn’t selfish, it allows you to feel better, happier and more energized so that you can then give more to your family, in your work and in all areas of your life. I recommend that you let go of any resistance you might have to pleasure and fully embrace feeling good and having fun more often. Having a good mindset around pleasure makes the experience of it more pleasurable. When I began to prioritize pleasure a couple of years ago I very quickly began to feel more passion for my work, I had more energy and the back pain I was often feeling began to dissipate.
- Write a Pleasure First List. Before you do anything on your To Do List, do something on your Pleasure First List, in fact, I suggest to do at least 3 things daily on your Pleasure First List. Begin by sitting down and writing your list. Think of any and all things that are pleasurable to you. It could be going for an afternoon walk, reading a book, drinking a warm cup of tea, doing yoga, dancing, taking a bath, masturbating, eating a piece of chocolate. Literally anything. My personal list includes all of the above and more. Your To Do List will become much more fun and enjoyable when you also have a Pleasure First List. Pleasure feels good, so it is only natural that this feel good feeling spills over onto your To Do List and anything else you have going on in your day to day life. Do something on your Pleasure First List before you go to work, at work if possible and after work. Once you have written your list, commit to it. Hang it somewhere you can see it regularly if that helps. Change it up, add new things, get creative! Trust me, you will notice very quickly how much fun pleasure is when you prioritize it.
- Get in touch with your sexual pleasure. Have more orgasms. Literally get ‘in touch’ with yourself. Sexual self pleasure and exploration is a natural part of being human. Orgasms not only feel good they are actually good for you. If you have more orgasms you will likely feel less stressed. When one of my clients began to really get in touch with herself, she saw immediate results. More joy, confidence, passion and less stress, overwhelm and frustration. See what you like, discover yourself and your body. Sexual energy is nothing to be ashamed of. Explore sexual energy by yourself and/or with a partner and see your stress reduce one orgasm at a time.
- Fall deeply in love with yourself. When you love yourself everything in your life feels better. With self love pleasure is more enjoyable. The combination of true self love and pleasure reduces stress and most other negativity. It can be easier said then done but it can be done. Self love starts with self awareness and self acceptance. We are our own worst critic and judge. What I did when I first started my own self love journey, and something I guide my clients through is a Self Love Mirror Practice. Every morning, shortly after waking, go look at yourself in the mirror. Really see yourself, make eye contact. Take some time, give yourself a few minutes. Become aware of how you feel, it might be uncomfortable. Notice what you might be thinking and feeling about yourself. What do you love about yourself physically and personally and why? What do you dislike and why? Begin to tell yourself as you look into your eyes, ‘I accept myself as I am right now.’ If that is too much to start with, say ‘I am in the process of accepting myself more and more as I am right now.’ Soon you will be able to say ‘I love myself’. You can take it one step further and do this completely naked. This practice is always powerful for my clients.
- Have daily Joygasms! Joygasms are spontaneous or intentional experiences of feeling blissfully ecstatic in any given moment for any particular reason, or none at all, simply because you can. It’s all about perspective here. The truth is, when it comes down to it, you get to choose. You can choose how you think, feel, percieve and react. This is incredibly empowering because it means you can create real change within yourself and in your life. I have regular Joygasms, I am multi Joygasmic! Because I choose to be grateful, I choose to see the cup half full, I choose to see the beauty even in the hard times. This doesn’t mean you bypass any so called ‘negative feelings’. No, let yourself feel it all, in fact it is important that you do otherwise ‘bad’ feelings will linger, the key to feeling better more often is to let yourself feel like shit some times. You just don’t want to spiral into the more unpleasant emotions. Joygasms are in their nature super pleasurable. It’s pleasureable to feel an immense amount of joy. And if you feel a lot of joy you naturally experience pleasure. They are interwoven. So the next time you see a sunset, see a baby smile, smell a flower, spill some water, forget that your sunglasses are on your head or feel overwhelmed at work, pause, take a breath and see if you can experience the joy and pleasure which is always available to you.
For the most success in reducing your stress at work, in other areas of your life and feeling a lot more fulfilled within yourself I recommend to do all of the above regularly. See what feels best for you and have fun!
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you to live with more joy in life?
This list could be very big! But I will choose a few of my favourite books as they have been most influential for me on my journey. I would also suggest Mindvalley, it’s a great platform with many world class teachers on various topics for personal growth and development. The other resource is Nature. Spending time in nature is always inspiring, calming and energizing in my experience.
-The Power of Now and a New Earth — both by Eckhart Tolle
-Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself — Dr. Joe Dispenza
-Conversations with God — Neale Donald Walsch
-Woman Be Wild — Indigo
-The Big Leap — Gay Hendricks
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It would be a movement through joy and pleasure into complete authentic personal freedom and self expression. For people to truly remember who they really are and what they are capable of. Beyond shame, guilt or expectations. Joygasms would become the norm! People would be empowered from the inside out, it would ripple into community and a more loving, joyful world would be inevitable. It is a spiritual movement of conscious awakening, remembering your true purpose and why you are here. It would be a movement into the depths of love, a reclamation, claiming your dreams and desires as your birthright and remembering that you truly are good enough simply because you exist.
What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?
I am present on a few different platforms. On Instagram @laura.isabella.machny Facebook Laura Isabella Machny and my website www.lauraisabellabeauthentic.com are all good places to follow my work.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.
Thank you so much. It was my pleasure!