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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Brett Cotter on Overcoming Stress, Anxiety and Trauma

Brett Cotter

Brett Cotter is an author, founder of Stress Is Gone and a retreat facilitator with more than 20 years of experience helping people heal trauma and overcome stress and anxiety. Cotter recently took time out from his busy schedule to talk with Natural Awakenings.

How did you get into the stress/anxiety/trauma-relief field?

In 1999, I was 27 years old and seeking new ways to fix my problem with jealously. It ruined relationships repeatedly. One night, three separate sources guided me towards meditation, so I listened to the universe. My first solo meditation rocked my world, forever opening my mind—like it was waiting to happen for lifetimes. Then, a highly referred psychic helped me see there’s a divine intelligence all around me. I was captivated by it and wanted to learn how to access it. She referred me to a healer who helped me transcend the fear that was fueling my jealously. He also helped me remember my true strength is in my vulnerability and every answer to every question lives inside me.

The next year, I was volunteering in a Chinese energetic medicine clinic in Marina Del Rey, California. One night, there were about 30 people and the group leader couldn’t make it. I was asked to facilitate. Immediately after that session, my colleagues came to me and said they want me to run the group from now on. I was shocked, but took on the responsibility and haven’t looked back since.

What has made the biggest shift in your life from stress to happiness?

When I first got into this work, I went gangbusters with healing my own heart. My burning desire was to transform my heart; this was the catalyst that drove me to experience healing in many one-on-one sessions and group workshops with my first teacher. My goal was to return my heart, and my ability to give and receive unconditional love, to the state it was in when I was born. My quest was to heal all the major scars on my heart from this lifetime. At a certain point on that journey, it felt like a critical mass was healed within me—like I turned a corner into a new life and was reconnected to an ocean of innocence, happiness and spirit.

What factor would you say makes the biggest difference for your clients?

The transformation that happens in our coaching calls and the retreats. People say they experience an emotional heaviness lift off their body that is replaced with a strong sense of self. Their stressors no longer affect them in the same way because the trauma the stress triggered is gone. It’s like imagining your stressor doing the same thing it always does but your body has zero reaction. Once the emotions are out of the way, I usually coach people to cultivate a new response—sometimes a gentle inner chuckle by imagining a small bowl of salad at their center. Every time they jiggle the bowl, the salad laughs like the plants on the old TV show The Magic Garden. That little inner chuckle is followed by unconditional love for yourself and the stressor. 

What is the most important thing you’d like to share with our readers?

Kindness is the key for humanity and unconditional self-love is the doorway to living a kind life. Energetically, unconditional love is expansion and our universe is expanding. That’s why love will always prevail; it’s in alignment with the universe, and like a moth to the flame, we all seek it because innately we are one with it. Love helps us remember the divine when we feel lonely, kindness when we get frustrated and safety when we feel afraid. 

People will get to experience Cotter and the Stress Is Gone Method at his upcoming transformational weekend retreat—Break Free from Anxiety and Heal Trauma Naturally—at Honor’s Haven, in Ellenville, from December 2 through 4, 2022.

For more information, visit