Everyone experiences stress, both good and bad. Problems begin when one’s body becomes accustomed to, or “tuned” for stress at a heightened level without ever going back to a lower or baseline level. These problems are the result of an over-response to common situations, or events that are out of our control, the hardwired, biological “fight or flight” response. This over-response by the body and brain is involved in the relationship between stress and illness.
A heightened level of stress over the long term can cause damage both physical and mental, including panic attacks, anxiety, headaches, immune system and gastrointestinal disorders, among many others.
Everyone manifests stress in different ways, and everyone can learn to counteract negative stress responses in ways that are most effective for them. The method of stress reduction I teach is a combination of the 6 most widely used professional approaches, including stretching for flexibility, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing, autogenics, imagery, and meditation, with a program developed according to each clients needs.
These techniques, combined with talk therapy, help to understand the sources of stress and create an awareness of how we respond to it. The ability to change one’s physical and mental responses to stressful situations can be learned over time. The key idea to be gained from stress reduction training is to show that different approaches to professional relaxation and mindfulness have different effects, work for different people, are used to attain different goals, and that one single approach doesn’t work for all.