How I Can Help You Develop Effective Stress Management Skills
In this page my aim is to show you how my innovative approach to stress & anxiety management goes way beyond mainstream counselling and psychotherapy.
What Does Is Really Take To Effectively Manage Stress?
The aim of stress management is not the impossible goal of preventing stress or anxiety from arising, but to develop the skills needed to quickly and easily recover when stress does happen. This is stress resilience, or emotional resilience. When you have confidence that you can handle it, stress almost doesn't feel like stress any more.
Stress Resilience Skills & Resources
Notice I said skills. Skills need to be learned, trained and developed. You need the right teaching, and the right learning tools - but you also need the time and commitment to learn.
Stress & The Mind-Body Connection
Stress is a mind-body process: how you think, feel and act is reflected in body responses (physiology) and vice versa.
A Stress Relief Strategy
So a reasonable strategy for managing stress is to learn to influence physiology - to guide the body into a state more supportive of resourceful states such as calm, clear focus and positivity.
I call such skills mind-body intelligence, and they are the foundation of emotional resilience and emotional intelligence.
Helping my clients develop and train their mind-body skills is the core of what I do. And I use a powerful tool - biofeedback.
Biofeedback: A Tool For Training Mind-Body Intelligence
Biofeedback is a powerful tool for developing the skills of emotional resilience. It works by measuring physiological changes associated with stress, and feeding back this information in real time, to create a basis for learning to access resourceful states such as relaxation, clear focus and positivity. (Click here to read more about biofeedback.)
Optimal Breathing Training
Whether you're aware of it or not, stress affects breathing - it creates breathing patterns that can significantly impair brain performance. Biofeedback devices can detect these changes, creating a basis for learning optimal breathing.
Neurofeedback: Biofeedback for the Brain
Neurofeedback is a particular form of biofeedback that's based on directly measuring brain activity. It typically works as a form of repetitive exercise, that increases your brain's "fitness" - like weight training it builds the "muscle" of your brain.
In my own practice I use it for strengthening "executive function" which includes focus and concentration. I prefer to use other forms of biofeedback for training emotional resilience. (Click here to read more about neurofeedback.)
Building Resources With Coaching
Biofeedback is a tool - it creates change by facilitating learning. To achieve your goals you need to be able to apply what you learn in the real contexts of your life. My role is educator, trainer and coach.
Coaching is the art and science of facilitating learning and development, and behaviour and lifestyle change.
Biofeedback combines effectively with other coaching tools. (Click here to read more about coaching.)
Mindfulness Based Therapy
Mindfulness is an ancient form of mind-training that builds qualities such as stability of focus, tranquillity, clarity, openness and contentment. In recent years mindfulness based therapy has established itself, with research evidence showing it can help depression, anxiety, and symptoms linked to stress.
At the heart of mindfulness is a mindset that allows qualities to develop, not by problem-solving and will-power but through open, trusting, engaged awareness. To be successful with biofeedback, you need something of the same mindset - that's why biofeedback and mindfulness make such an effective combination. Biofeedback can in a sense enhance mindfulness practice, making it easier, more effective and more gratifying.
Positive Psychology Coaching
Positive psychology is the science of optimal functioning, happiness and well-being. Well-being isn't just feeling good but entails a set of skills and resources such as self-awareness, emotional resilience and emotional intelligence. Positive psychology offers a set of research-proven tools and methods that complement our work with biofeedback.
How You Can Access Biofeedback Training
I'm deeply inspired by the potential that biofeedback training offers and motivated to help as many people access the benefits as possible, and to make doing so as easy and convenient as possible. Whilst in an ideal world you'd probably visit my office here in York for one to one coaching, in practice that's often not possible especially if you live at a distance from me. But it doesn't mean you can't work with me.
My services are based around:
- An online (video-based) biofeedback training course - designed to give you the key information, ideas and practices to make working with biofeedback a success. The course aims to develop emotional resilience and stress management skills, and is built around optimal breathing training, focusing on three key biofeedback parameters related to breathing.
- Biofeedback device rental, so that you can practice at home with the three key biofeedback modalities for optimal breathing, which are muscle tension (EMG), capnometry, and heart coherence (also known as heart rate variability or HRV biofeedback).
- One-to-one coaching to support & individualise the learning process, either in my office in York or via skype or telephone.
HOW TO BREATHE WELL FOR:
- Stress relief
- Emotional well-being
- Optimal brain performance
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"I worked with biofeedback to slow and deepen my breathing. I had been panic breathing for a long time without knowing it. The difference has been out of proportion to anything I would have expected. I face the day to day challenges of work and family with a much more laid back and calm attitude. It's now rare for me to snap or loose my temper, when it used to be a regular occurrence. Physically I am much stronger. Challenges that had previously taken me to my limit I now find I can take in my stride (e.g. a 170 mile coast to coast cycle ride). I continue to use what I have learned every day."
- Karen, North Yorkshire