Anxiety and Stress
Many situations in life are demanding. It may be our job and the pace at which we have to work, our daily commute, or family upheavel or changes in our routine. If we feel that we can cope easily, we often describe the situations as ‘stimulating’ or ‘good stress’.
If we feel that we cannot cope, we often label the situations as ‘stressful’ and ourselves as ‘stressed’. So what most people call stress is something that ‘throws us off balance’ – be it emotionally, physically or mentally.
The ‘caveman or cavewoman’ side of our mind and body automatically react to stressful situations. It reacts with a flood of hormones and tightening of muscles from head to toe that prepare us to meet the perceived threat with a ‘fight or flight’ response. This tightening should ideally be discharged by fleeing the situation. But this often would not be acceptable or appropriate in modern life and so is maintained as a contracted posture and in time can become our habitual posture.
After a stressful event is over, we need to calm down and allow ourselves to revert to a balanced, relaxed internal state. However if the stress is strong enough or recurs often enough, we may not have the skills and coping mechanisms to return to a balanced state and feel ‘stressed out’ – leading to emotional distress, coughs, colds, digestive symptoms and other stress related problems. ‘Further continued stress can lead to ‘ burn out’ and possibly in extreme cases ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The Alexander Technique is a very useful tool to help us manage stress. It helps us learn to bring ourselves back to a quiet but alert resting state. It helps us learn how to stop reacting habitually to events in a way which disrupts our new found relaxed state. It helps us handle life’s challenges more easily.
What people say
NHS Psychologist – Shoulder and Neck pain
I developed shoulder and neck pain and poor posture through years of carrying bags and rucksacks. Physiotherapy made no difference. However within a few sessions of the Alexander Technique (AT), I was surprised to have significantly cut down my analgesic (painkillers) use.
What I greatly value is the principle of mind-body awareness which is central to the AT and which resonates deeply with a mindfulness approach to daily life. AT seems to allow us to tap back into the body’s own wisdom about efficient movement and well being.
I would highly recommend it!
Anxiety and chronic pain
After a close family member was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I started suffering from severe anxiety. This resulted in the muscles in my back, neck and shoulders to become stiff and painful. Over time, I was convinced I had a physical problem with my back which then made the anxiety symptoms worse. Over the past 3 years I have visited doctors, consultants, physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists and hypnotherapists. I was also sent for an MRI scan of my whole spine which came back normal.
So I decided to try the Alexander Technique. I look forward to my lessons each week and feel so much better mentally and physically. I am now beginning to see certain situations I come across in life as a challenge rather than a stressful problem.
I would thoroughly recommend Derek to anyone with similar problems to mine. I just wish I had known about this technique before wasting my money on other therapies, which were helping, but not dealing with the root cause of my problems.