Biofeedback to Manage Stress
Stress, it’s not all bad. Stress is a physiological response that arises when we encounter a situation that we do not have the ability to manage.
HOW DO WE RESPOND TO STRESS?
Let’s begin by understanding how our bodies function. Our thoughts and feelings towards situations play a fundamental role in our behaviour. A situation may be judged as being stressful based on sensory input as well as our stored memories. What we see and hear at the time of an event, as well as how we responded the last time we were in a similar situation, determine how we respond to the current situation. If the situation is deemed stressful, we release a hormone called cortisol and enter the classic “fight or flight response”. Our bodies cannot tell if we are stressed because we encountered a bear in the woods or because we had no time to run our errands that day. This response, however, can be altered if we have the tools to manage it.
HOW CAN BIOFEEDBACK HELP MANAGE STRESS?
Biofeedback is a recognized non-pharmacological, non-invasive therapy that helps us to modify our physiology to improve our mental, physical and emotional health. Biofeedback converts physiological signals inside our body into visual cues. Just as we can look into a mirror and observe the movements in body position and expressions, the Biofeedback machine allows us to understand what is happening inside our body. It trains us to recognize our thoughts, feelings and behaviours related to our physiology. With Biofeedback’s active participation, we can then learn to self-regulate and control these responses. This in turn helps us to manage stressful situations and reduce the negative effects of stress.