Learn this centring technique. And practice it daily! In fact, I’ve been practicing it for almost a year five times a day, often under cold showers as well. Life is practice, so choose to practice things that elevate your life. It’s called ABC (awareness, balance, core relaxation) and it was created by my embodiment teacher, Mark Walsh. Okay, here it goes: Sit comfortably, feet flat on the ground. Feel your feet. Feel your bum on the chair. See if you’re sitting in a balanced position, if not, change your posture. Relax your jaw, relax your shoulders, and let the belly out. Then sigh and think of someone who makes you smile.

With all that’s going on in our country, our economy, the world, and on social media, it feels like so many of us are under a great deal of stress. Relationships, in particular, can be stress-inducing. We know chronic stress can be as unhealthy as smoking a quarter of a pack a day. What are stress management strategies that people use to become “Stress-Proof? What are some great tweaks, hacks, and tips that help reduce or even eliminate stress? In this interview series, we are talking to authors, and mental health experts, who can share their strategies for reducing or eliminating stress. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Noemi Szeri.

Noemi is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and embodiment coach specializing in relationship coaching.She supports singles and couples to build loving, mature, and lasting romantic relationships through therapy and embodied relational intelligence. She combines subconscious work with body-based experiential learning to facilitate rapid change. She believes all relationships start at the level of the self. By transforming how we relate to ourselves, we transform our romantic life too.

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!

I never thought I would become a relationship therapist and coach. I was passed down a less than optimal relational legacy. If we think of relationships through the attachment model, I’ve always been anxiously attached. I was unconsciously afraid of being abandoned, which at the conscious level looked like rebellion, and weird behavior, until I met my husband, who by the way I’ve known for twenty years, which is close to half my lifetime thus far.

The psychologist and author, Harville Handrix says “we are wounded in relationship, and we can be healed in relationship”, which is true. Marrying a person who respects me, loves me, and is committed entirely to me has helped me reshape my idea of relationships. Then, as I became a therapist and coach, I realized that most conflicts are about relationships, either with ourselves or with others. Specializing in this field has taught me even more about how to nurture a relational mindset that brings us together instead of a hyper-individual mindset that creates a gaping hole between us. There’s just no end to learning, growing, and maturing in relationships. Which I find immensely exciting!

I can truly say that it doesn’t matter what legacy you were passed down, or what micro or macro traumas your body is holding on to, with the right practices and a loving partner you can reshape how you show up in your relationship and how you live your life.

What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?

I would help her become more embodied, basically help her be in touch with the sensations in the body, learn to decode the messages her body gives, and learn to stay with the more difficult feelings. I used to suffer with a lot of generalized and social anxiety, which meant that I got a lot less out of life than I could have because of avoidant behaviors. The antidote to anxiety is becoming more in touch with the body, body-based trauma therapy, and clear thinking.

I would want to share experiential learning with her instead of concepts or stories. I would encourage her to get back into her body, do regular exercises, learn to dance, take cold showers, and spend a lot of time in nature. I think this is what would benefit her most.

But most importantly, I would like to be fully present with her and listen to her. We tend to overestimate the power of motivational speakers and underestimate the power of silence and presence. I believe being fully present with someone can change their life, whereas motivating them might give them a couple of days of excitement before they return to whatever their baseline is.

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?

I’m immensely grateful for my husband. He is an amazing person and is ferociously intelligent. I learned to think clearly next to him and to see flaws in arguments. I’ve also learned to love myself more and to accept myself through his love.

The most difficult time in our life was after my emergency spinal surgery. I was left with a lot of pain and health issues. At one point, I was experiencing so much pain that everyone started crying: my husband in the kitchen, and my mother sitting on the sofa. This is called secondary trauma, when you witness pain and feel helpless in the situation.

We survived that period and have become a stronger couple than ever. I am forever grateful for him having my back regardless of the suffering. It’s a level of commitment that not everyone is comfortable making.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think it might help people?

I’m thinking of writing a book on becoming embodied and strengthening our relationship after physical trauma, such as a spinal surgery. I would have loved a workbook or book on the subject as I was recovering. It would have been the best gift.

It’s very challenging to feel physically broken. It took me more than a year of daily training to get on my tiptoes and almost two years to be able to walk properly. I also found it difficult to just get on with life. I would love to help those who are going through such a harrowing time, and give them what I would have needed when I was in their shoes.

Physical trauma impacts our relationship as well, from intimacy to our sexual life. Having a daily guide I believe can be hugely empowering, which is what motivates my project.

Ok, thank you for sharing your inspired life. Let’s now talk about stress. How would you define stress?

Stress is basically a cascade of physiological changes that are an adaptive response to perceived threat. Your body is ready to either fight or flee. The Hungarian-Canadian endocrinologist Hans Seye said that one “should not try to avoid stress any more than he would shun food, love or exercise.”

You see, stress is and has always been vital for our survival. But as the American author, researcher, and my favorite thinker Robert Sapolscky puts it “For 99 percent of the beasts on this planet, stress is about three minutes of screaming in terror after which it’s either over with or you’re over with. And we turn it on for 30-year mortgages.” Stress is only dangerous when it’s chronic.

If you constantly or repeatedly stress about your livelihood, the mortgage you’re paying, or how you look, it becomes chronic. Basically you can turn the stress response on for something vital or trivial. Your body doesn’t care! If you turn it on for long enough or too many times throughout the day, your health will suffer. Our bodies didn’t evolve to put up with such high levels of wear and tear.

All in all, stress is phenomenal: it keeps you alive! Chronic stress is the enemy of physical and mental health.

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?

There are several factors we need to consider here: trauma, sociological changes, economic hardship, changes to our diet, faster paced life, fewer close knit ties, the myth of individualism, social media’s impact on our self-image, an increasingly competitive lifestyle, climate crisis. The list is actually quite long.

From a relationship perspective, I’d like to highlight trauma. We often associate the word with war, sexual assault, or natural disasters, but it’s been observed that smaller, everyday events can also lead to PTSD symptoms. And more importantly, in recent years we have discovered that trauma isn’t merely a result of what happened to us, but also what might not have happened. It’s not merely abuse that impacts us, but neglect as well.

There’s definitely more focus on how childhood trauma shows up in our adult life and in our relationship dynamics. An individual who experienced childhood emotional neglect might have an anxious, avoidant, or disordered attachment style. Basically in the very place where we find support and recovery — our home — becomes a source of stress. Anything and everything our partner says can be cause for stress. So we turn on the stress reaction, which is then most likely fuelled by thoughts and stories we make up to confirm our fears.

We live in a world where individualism is celebrated and promoted. The issue is that it just doesn’t correspond with what we know about our biology and needs. We are a highly social species. We need each other. Yes we can survive living alone, and having a small support system, but the price is more stress.

Even if our physiological and housing needs are met, we have emotional and psychological needs and they are often not met. But to be fair, there’s a lot of financial uncertainty and hardship at the moment, so many people worry about their day to day survival too.

What are some of the physical manifestations of being under a lot of stress? How does the human body react to stress?

Some of the short-term effects are muscle tension, shallow and faster breath, faster heartbeat, chest pain, skin sensitivity, stomach ache, racing thoughts, blurred eyesight, problems with focus.

If stress is chronic, you might have long-term effects too, such as mental health issues, most commonly anxiety and depression, high blood pressure, migraines, chronic fatigue, tension headaches, insomnia, hair loss, heart problems, fertility issues, hyperventilation or panic attacks, increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, problems with indigestion.

Stress is an adaptive response to life threats. So just imagine, digestion isn’t important, nor is fertility. Anything and everything that doesn’t serve your immediate survival is put on hold, which is great if you’re trying to outrun a lion. It’s not great if it’s part of your daily life. Your body is in a state that prioritizes short-term survival over long-term well-being.

Is stress necessarily a bad thing? Can stress ever be good for us?

Stress is neither good nor bad. It’s a mechanism that has kept us alive as a species and it does the same thing to this day.

But whilst the acute stress response will save your life in moments of threat, it costs you your health if it’s chronic.

I personally think of stress as a phenomenal mechanism that can help you react immensely fast, such as when driving. If you were relying on your conscious mind to decide what to do when there’s a car racing towards you, you’d most probably end up dead. The stress response is faster and it helps you react appropriately.

As with most things in life, if it works the way it was designed to: help us survive extreme cases, it’s great. If you are constantly stressed and worried about something, then it’s damaging.

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?

We’ve already touched upon this topic already, so I won’t repeat that. Yes, there’s a huge difference between turning on the stress response when you need it. E.g., you’re walking home at night and you hear something suspicious, without thinking you start running until you get to a place where there are others around and feel safe. Stress might have just saved your life.

Now, in a relationship context, let’s say your partner falls ill, or has just gone through an accident. It will lead to stress. Your stress baseline might in fact stay elevated for a while, that’s also a normal response to a distressing situation. But if it continues for months and years, it will lead to long-term health issues.

Think of it as a car, you’re accelerating all the time, and sometimes you might even be accelerating and keeping your foot on the brakes. It’s devastating for your body.

Let’s now focus more on the stress of relationships. This feels intuitive, but it is helpful to spell it out in order to address it. Can you help articulate why relationships can be so stressful?

As you just said, it does feel intuitive. We all know that relationships are stressful, we saw it, we experienced it, and yet somehow expect it to impact others not us. And what I mean here is that we want a loving and lasting relationship but we often don’t think about what skills are required to make that happen. We just expect things to work out, and that’s not a good strategy.

I mentioned the concept of relational legacy, basically the automatic script we use to behave in relationships. If you were fortunate enough to be brought up in a family where your parents were attuned to your needs and feelings, as well as their own and each other’s, if they had great conflict resolution skills and healthy boundaries, you will have learned these patterns and use them in your own relationship.

You basically have a secure attachment style.

Many people weren’t as lucky as that. So we take for granted that we should all be able to relate to each other properly without having to put in hours and hours of effort to change our relational mindset and patterns.

There’s always conflict in relationships, which leads to stress. If you don’t know how to manage stress, you’ll be more likely to either shut up in fear or to lash out in anger. You might use cognitive distortions such as generalizations “you always” “you never” or personalization “it’s all my fault” or the fallacy of change, you expect your partner to change to meet your needs.

Basically there’s a lot of stress in relationships because life is stressful. But when we’re ill-prepared for relationships the level and frequency of stress will be much higher, often leading to resentment and separation.

Can you help spell out some of the problems that come with the stress caused by relationships?

I remember listening to a talk by trauma specialist and author, Bessel van der Kolk. He said that they studied the aftereffects of 9/11 on office workers in the area, basically who would suffer from PTSD. And they discovered that people who didn’t feel safe at home, or their home environment was a source of distress had a higher chance of developing PTSD.

Like all mammals, we go home when we’re distressed. It’s an automatic reaction. If our home is a source of stress, we have nowhere to fully recover. Chronic stress can lead to what American psychologist and neuroscientist Stephen Porges calls a dysregulated nervous system: you’re stuck in either anxious states or depressed states.

Your relationship is your home, if you don’t feel safe there, you will find it difficult to feel safe anywhere else. That’s the biggest problem.

Can you share with our readers your “5 stress management strategies that you can use to eliminate stress from your relationships?”

Okay, the most important principle when learning skills is you first practice them in a safe environment before you apply them. Don’t expect to be able to use techniques immediately because you simply don’t have access to your whole brain when you’re stressed. But with rigorous practice, you can get there.

  1. Build awareness. I can’t stress this enough. I used to want to jump into action mode immediately, but the greatest thing I’ve learned is that slowing a process down often gets me where I want to be faster. So, I encourage you to take stock of what patterns you and your partner have. It could be a great opportunity to get to know each other better. Ask yourself some deep questions about stress: When is it that I feel stressed? Where in my body do I feel it? Are there any common situations that trigger me? How would I like to be supported when I’m stressed? How can I support my partner through stressful moments? Get to know your stress patterns with curiosity, without judgment or trying to change it.
  2. Use your body to manage stress. The easiest and most effective way to reduce the stress response is by using movement: change your posture, open up your sight instead of looking straight ahead, slow down your breathing, go for a slow walk. When I feel stressed now, I like to feel my feet on the ground and move my toes, which focuses my attention on the here and now. Instead of getting lost in my thoughts, I am able to feel present.
  3. Question your thoughts. Not all your thoughts are true. In fact most of our thoughts are total rubbish. As relationship expert Esther Perel puts it, it’s just pseudo factual talk. We tend to believe our thoughts, but you can actually train yourself to question them: Is it true? How can I make sure it is true? What evidence do I have for and against it? Start doing this in your everyday life, without obsessing over it. Start with situations that aren’t stressful, before you start questioning your thoughts in a conflict. If you want to learn more about this, check out Katie Byron’s work. I love her origin story. She had been suffering with years of depression, until she saw a spider on her foot and it just came to her that it was her thoughts that kept her stuck in distress, this moment entirely transformed her life.
  4. Understand your emotions. When stressed, we’re highly emotional as well. Emotions are important because they signal something to us, but you see it’s not always about the present, it might signal something about the past, which is why you might react to something your partner says with the same intensity as you did when you were a child. Learn about emotions, and how to decode what value they signal. For instance if you feel bad about snapping at your partner, your emotions signal that your relationship is important for you, so saying sorry and avoiding doing the same next time would be a good idea. When you cannot find the reason for an emotion, instead of making up a random story about it, stay with the emotion, it might reveal a memory or just dissipate on its own.
  5. Learn this centring technique. And practice it daily! In fact, I’ve been practicing it for almost a year five times a day, often under cold showers as well. Life is practice, so choose to practice things that elevate your life. It’s called ABC (awareness, balance, core relaxation) and it was created by my embodiment teacher, Mark Walsh. Okay, here it goes: Sit comfortably, feet flat on the ground. Feel your feet. Feel your bum on the chair. See if you’re sitting in a balanced position, if not, change your posture. Relax your jaw, relax your shoulders, and let the belly out. Then sigh and think of someone who makes you smile.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you to live with more joy in life?

There are just so many. I guess the first book that really opened my eyes to possibilities and to the power of neuroplasticity was The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge. It was a paradigm shift.

Talking about stress, you could check out Robert Sapolsy’s books on stress and being human: Why Zebras don’t Get Ulcers, and Behave.

When it comes to relationships, you can watch great YouTube videos and podcasts with Esther Perel, Terrence Real, and John Gottman. They’ve also written some phenomenal books on how to create better relationships.

Clear exposition brings me great joy. On a different topic, you could read the Story of Art, by E. H. Gombrich, his erudite and clear thinking about art history has always been a source of joy and it feels fresh even if it was first published more than seventy years ago.

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. 🙂

Embodiment. Connecting with our bodies help us feel more human and behave in a more humane way. It also connects us to our planet. It’s what we need most right now.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

You can check out my website, my blog posts and social activities here:



This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

It was my pleasure. Thank you!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.