Dealing with stress with the help of the Alexander Technique
The Alexander Technique is all about only using what we require for an activity and no more. So many of us add in unnecessary muscular tension to everything that we do, whether it be sitting, standing, walking or doing any activity, and when we are under stress we tend to this even more than usual. The result is muscle aches and stiffness and a general feeling of not performing at our best.
We are fundamentally a combination of mind and body. We cannot separate the two, so when we are under any form of stress, we often do things to ourselves that cause us problems long term. When we are stressed, we often contract our muscles more than we need to, pull down on our spines and generally tense up. The Technique teaches us an alternative way to respond to stress, by stopping that habitual reaction to add in tension and enabling us to choose a different path.
One of my favourite quotes is from Viktor Frankl, the Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, who wrote the following: ‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom’. The Alexander Technique is a powerful education method that teaches us to respond to things in a different way, whether that be eliminating the tension in our shoulders when we are stressed or simply stopping and taking the time to work out how we are actually going to respond to something.
In these times of stress, take a moment to think about how you personally respond to a stimulus. Do you have habits of mind and body that come into play? Is there a way that you can just say to yourself, I do not have to respond in the old habitual way, I can choose a different response? Take the time to pause, consider and move forward in a way that is easier, calmer and ultimately more liberating.
Lynsey Metcalfe is a member of the Bridge to Health team and a teacher of the Alexander Technique. She can be reached on 07957 417718 or email@example.com
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