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Martial Arts ‘Master Phil’ Ross Knows How to Beat Stress

Fitness and martial arts expert Phil Ross doesn’t just teach others how to cope with stress, he shows them how to pull it out by the roots.

Phil Ross, known by his admirers as Master Phil, is most noted for his accomplishments in fitness and martial arts. He has Black Belts in four martial arts styles, is a former kickboxing and wrestling champion, and has developed martial arts-based, self-defense training programs for professional athletes, police officers, military personnel and agents serving in the FBI and DEA.  He is also a college professor, an accomplished public speaker, and the author of the acclaimed self-defense and personal fitness manual “Survival Strong: A Guide to Street Survival and Strength.”

As Phil emphasizes, his success is a testament to the importance of developing sustainable winning habits, which can carry anyone to the heights of their profession or help them achieve their most ambitious personal dreams. Phil’s expertise in life skills development has made him a sought-after lecturer and presenter, and he’s learned how to translate his experiences into actionable advice for individuals who are seeking excellence in any endeavor.

Recently, he has been speaking to audiences on the topic of stress. While acknowledging that stress is an indicator of compromised mental health, Phil also links elevated stress to poor performance. Individuals under stress will struggle to focus and concentrate, which in turn makes it difficult to be creative or innovative or to account for all the relevant details that separate success from failure in most projects.

Photo: Phil Ross | Courtesy

In a detailed, step-by-step presentation, Master Phil explains how stress emerges from chronic passivity, combined with the effects of unproductive habits of thought and behavior that reinforce dependence and a lack of personal autonomy. As an alternative to this cycle of futility, he shows his followers how to develop habits that will put them in charge of their destinies, creating a victory-oriented mindset that will vanquish stress and open up new possibilities for happiness and high-achievement.

Here are some strategies that Phil recommends for those whose efforts to grow and thrive have been thwarted by stress and anxiety:


Develop Self-Reliance

Phil Ross refers to self-reliance as “the hidden key to unlock a life of freedom.” As an antidote to stress, self-reliance is a highly effective, proactive strategy. It replaces the passive acceptance of helplessness with an ongoing quest for self-sufficiency and true independence. A self-reliant person prizes their autonomy and refuses to surrender it for any reason. This puts them firmly in charge of their own fates, leaving them far less vulnerable to outside forces they cannot control (which is a major source of stress and anxiety).

To become truly self-reliant involves making smarter and more self-aware choices that reduce dependency. As Phil points out, every decision or life change that puts someone in charge of their own destiny, even in a small way or for a single moment, represents a meaningful step toward developing a more self-reliant lifestyle.


Improve Health and Fitness

The Big Bad Three of poor diet, a lack of exercise and inadequate sleep leave the body weakened and prone to anxiety and stress. Anxiety is an opportunistic condition, preying on those who are fighting fatigue of the mind and body. But as Phil Ross knows very well from his martial arts career, high levels of fitness tend to keep stress at bay.

“The human body wants to heal itself,” Phil Ross explains, “but we have to help it.” Minds and bodies sharpened by regular inputs of nutritious foods, uninterrupted sleep and daily exercise feel strong and empowered, which increases confidence and energy and makes it harder for stress and anxiety to take root.

This assertion is supported by solid evidence. Phil notes that the latest studies have shown that working out and being in shape is 1.5 times as effective as drugs and therapy combined at reducing stress and anxiety to a manageable level.


Choose Freedom and Independence

Phil refers to freedom as the “natural partner” of self-reliance. Self-reliance increases the freedom to choose and decide, while asserting the freedom to choose and decide automatically makes a person more self-reliant.

One of the key aspects of becoming more free, however, is understanding that freedom always comes with a price. “Freedom is not free,” is how Phil puts it, in recognition of the fact that some sacrifices will have to be made to achieve real and sustainable.

This may mean being more thoughtful about how money is spent (to gain financial freedom). Or engaging in more strenuous physical activity while making a firm commitment to healthier eating (to achieve the freedom that comes with having good health).  It almost always means accepting more and greater responsibilities (to find the freedom that accompanies independence). And if frequently means continuing to study and work hard to acquire new skills and knowledge (giving a person the freedom to pursue their dream job or become an entrepreneur).

Once a person has gained greater freedom to choose and decide what they do and what happens to them, they will have eliminated one more source of stress from their lives. Not being free means being compelled to do things that are less than desirable, and this will always cause anxiety and a sense of dread.


Prepare to Achieve

Preparation involves thinking and planning ahead. It means setting goals and then taking actions to ensure they can be achieved in a reasonable amount of time and with a sustainable level of effort.

Phil Ross urges people to make changes that will lay the groundwork for a life lived in harmony with their most inspired vision. Following his advice means making decisions not based on convenience or instant gratification, but on a sober and rational assessment of what will promote long-term growth and personal fulfillment.

Conversely, in Phil’s words, “failing to prepare equals preparing to fail,” which highlights the connection between poor performance and the lack of a long-term vision. People who start preparing to achieve their goals are taking a vital step to break out of a passive mentality, replacing it with a clear-minded approach that believes anything is possible with consistent effort and smart planning.

When people prepare strategies that account for all types of contingencies, they are seldom caught by surprise. This is how preparation can reduce stress, since stress is often caused by unpleasant developments that could have been foreseen and prevented, but were not.


Sow Seeds of Success in Ground Where Stress Once Grew

Many people view stress as a hindrance to happiness and success. But Phil Ross takes a deeper look at stress, and sees it as something else: namely, a sign that a person has yet to develop and adopt healthy habits that would allow them to avoid stress in the first place.

There is a unifying theme behind Phil’s advice, and it is that steady, consistent efforts will produce incremental change, which over time will add up to something substantial and life-altering. This approach to self-improvement will ultimately combat stress, although it does so not by targeting stress specifically, but by helping those who follow Phil’s path take charge of every aspect of their daily existence. When a person accomplishes this, stress will no longer have fertile ground in which to grow.

Phil Ross doesn’t just teach his followers how to cope with stress. Instead, he shows them how to reach down and pull it out by the roots, destroying the hold it has over their minds and souls. While unexpected developments will inevitably produce some stress in everyone’s life, chronic and uncontrollable stress can become a distant memory for those who choose this path.


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