Our body is designed to be relaxed most of the time and to be able to respond appropriately to stressful situations. Unfortunately, many people have an over-active stress response. This can lead to anxiety, tension and being easily angered. If excessive stress goes on for a long time, mental and physical health can suffer, leading to amongst others, depression, immune system problems, digestive problems and fatigue.
Our body reacts to to a mixture of external and internal triggers for both stress and and relaxation. An example of an external trigger could be having to run to get out of the way of an oncoming vehicle or being faced with an aggressive person. An internal stressor could be the experience of lying in bed unable to sleep, worrying about work, school or a relationship. A stressor that is a mix of internal and external stress might be having to speak or present in front of others – the internal part of this is performance anxiety based may be on a memory of failing or being rejected at some earlier stage. The external stressor is the actual, current situation of standing in front of the class or one’s colleagues.
Muscle tension, breathing patterns and sweat production are our body’s experience of relaxation and stress. Stress assessment involves measuring these using special sensors and and feeding this information into a computer programme. This gives detailed information about your unique patterns of stress; your baseline stress level, your response to specific stressors and the time it takes for you to return to baseline. A comprehensive report is generated. Understanding how your nervous system can be very helpful in learning to manage life’s stresses. A stress analysis can be done in conjunction with a QEEG (brainwave assessment) or on its own. A programme of therapy including biofeedback, neurofeedback and counselling is often helpful.