Rather than get into a long technical explanation of “What is Biofeedback?” I’m going to show you some of the simple relaxation exercises you can use for reducing stress and anxiety.
Stress management is important to living a health life, so be sure to get this:
Tips for Stress Management-Brief Recovery Exercise
Start first with your Brief Recovery Exercise (BRE). (For more about this check out this article)
When you do your Brief Recovery Exercise you want to see to it that you breath and mind and muscle feel like they did when you were thinking that peaceful thought over and over.
(Remember how a few simple words can reduce stress.)
This is your BASELINE…I like to think of this as how you will know you have made your way home.
Relaxation Techniques for Stress-Get More Aware
Now, here is the next part of your awareness exercise:
(The purpose of this stress relief exercise is to get more in touch with what your body is telling you…i.e. biofeedback.)
Start by making sure you will not be disturbed.
- Make sure your door is closed and phone off.
- Take a minute to get comfortable…
Then do your Brief Recovery Exercise (BRE) to quiet down your breath and mind and muscles.
Tune into your body because your body has something important to teach you about stress management:
What Causes Stress? Ask Your Inner 3 Year Old…
Would it shock you to think that your reaction to stress is largely controlled by a 3 year old who rules your subconscious?
But the good news is that part of understanding stress is learning how to use biofeedback techniques to train that part of your body to respond in a more healthy and productive way.
The 3 year old simply does not know any better!!!!!
Now that you have done your Brief Recovery Exercise, let your mind think a stressful thought.
(There’s no need to make this particularly horrible…3 year olds get scared pretty easily and remember it does not have to be a real event.)
As you focus on this stressful thought your subconscious mind (that’s the three year old I’ve been talking about) will buy in to the stress pretty fast…we all do!
So continue with this awareness exercise by focusing and re-focusing your attention on this stressful thought and at the same time…
Be Aware of Your Breathing
Next notice how your body is breathing.
- Is your breath beginning in your chest now and does it feel short or fast?
- Or perhaps you are holding your breath?
- What about your exhale-is it short?
Notice whatever you can about the quality of your breathing when your inner three year old, i.e. the subconscious mind, is in battle preparation mode.
Be Aware of Your Mind
Then notice how your mind is thinking…
- Is your mind jumping from thought to thought looking for potential predators?
- Are your thoughts loud or urgent?
- Is your mind telling you to be afraid…very afraid?
Are you now aware of the quality of your thinking and how it would get a 3 year old frightened and ready for battle?
Be Aware of Muscle Tension
Finally, in this awareness exercise, notice how your muscles feel.
- Are your shoulders pulled up to protect your throat or maybe pushed forward or even both up and forward?
- Is your jaw tense…maybe your jaw is set without your teeth touching or maybe your teeth are clenched…
What about the position of your tongue?
- Is it pressed against the roof of your mouth or the back of your front teeth?
Do you feel your eyes squinting or forehead tense?
What are your arms doing?
- Are they pulled in to protect your side?
(Your body instinctively knows if you get attacked and something penetrates between your ribs it could damage your lungs or heart.)
This instinct is there to protect you in real life and death struggles.
Are your hands clenched or gripping or flared?
What are you noticing about your thighs and calves and feet?
(Remember, you are getting ready to run or fight when dealing with stress.)
Negative Effects of Stress on an Injury
As you assess your muscle tension, are you arching your low back or narrowing your hips?
(These signs of stress are a pretty common feeling for anyone with a low back problem…which is a pretty common health issue!)
- Both the arch in your back and the narrowing of your hips can be seen as a “protective” posture.
And of course it will make things worse for your pain problem here in your low back or anywhere else to have this protective tension.
Look for tension in any area where you have had pain or injury as your subconscious mind will want to keep those areas “safe.”
- Guarding, armoring, bracing all describe that essential protective tightening of muscles.
Your body seeks to safeguard these vulnerable areas so do not move so much while you are fighting and running as that could cause further injury.
What you may notice overall is a crouching or narrowing feeling throughout your body.
Stress may also present itself as a straightening and stiffening of muscles.
(Isn’t it amazing how many of the symptoms of stress come back to our ingrained defensive reactions/instincts?
When you think you have a pretty good take on how to read when your body and mind are reacting to stress, take the time to RECOVER…breathe, use your calming phrase and voice and let the tension melt out of your muscles
So how do you feel NOW?
Wiser for sure!
Are you learning more about why you want to be practicing your biofeedback techniques to sense and deal and recover from stress?
Do you think you can feel it when you are overstressed and ready for battle?
If so, you now hold the power… (Drum roll)………….
Come to the Stress Rescue…
When your body is telling you (and you are listening…)
Just do your Brief Recovery Exercise to guide your body and mind back “home.”
Isn’t that great…now you know so much?
C’mon….I’ll see you next article!
Want to learn more about stress management?
Take the first step!
Click here for my Special Report: Biofeedback Training- Discover the Power of Your Mind to Control Your Body
Author: Jinny Joy LaRock, RN, BCB Sr. Fellow