Stress and change management

Here is a question for you.  What causes the emotional systems of some people to be kidnapped so easily by slight changes in visual, auditory, kinesthetic or olfactory input resulting in extreme stress?  People faced with change they dont welcome can experience a stress response. If this is severe or chronic the fight or flight response can be extreme. Minor irritations become catastrophes, miscommunication can lead to interpersonal conflict, rage and illness.

As a practical tool neurolinguistic programming NLP can help many of us to manhandle our sensory representations of reality and produce useful states of mind and body despite chaos in our world. It's not the same as understanding what is going in our physiology but for many people that is less important than having a more balanced and productive life experience. 

Others seek a remedy in meditation, yoga or simply escaping into nature. It has always been a struggle for medicine to grasp the legitimacy of the many diverse paths to emotional balance due to "lack of evidence" or theories that poitn to what is happening in the body.  My one time boss described an alternative meaning for an idiopathic desease - this is one he said in which the doctor is an idiot and the pateitn is pathetic.

There are signs of things changing which is just as well becuase we live in an age of rapid and unrelenting change and how we manage the stress this produces is a very important issue.

When I was a University student the mantra was "anatomy is destiny".  It was believed then that the neuronal connections in the brain were fixed and it's only about 20 years ago that the concept of neuroplasticity gained some support. About the same time Stephen Porges was talking of the polyvagal theory of emotions. These events have produced a fundamental shift in how stress, emotional trauma, PTSD and the role of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) are viewed.

In recent decades there has been interest in Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and its role in smoothing out the emotional roller coaster of our stress response.  Some researchers noted that people with PTSD generally had poor HRV (chaotic) whilst those who maintained relatively stable HRV whilst remembering dreadful personal events did not seem to suffer from PTSD.  Porges's polyvagal theory suggested that human interactions and body sensations play a central role in our emotional lives.

Whilst we recognise that the two anatgonistic branches of the ANS - the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches are important, they are fine tuned by the social, myelinated vagus and the cranial nerves thst regulate the facial expression. 

From this there is the suggestion that something as simple as a kind face and a soothing voice can alter the entire organisation of the human organism.

As you might expect, we believe that biofeedback techniques are an ideal way of opening an window into the mind-body state and examining and even harnessing the dynamic control systems that are built into our nervouse system.  A NeXus system can provide a multimodal view of our heart rate and rhythm, respiration rate, brain activity, muscle tension, skin temperature and more are changing in real-time. This can be one of the keys to better health and beneficial change.