Full List Of Articles (Unpaged)
Mindfulness is a form of mind training that builds qualities such as stability of focus, tranquillity, clarity, openness and contentment. Benefits of mindfulness include improved emotional resilience, focus, working memory and mental flexibility, and it can help anxiety and depression. This article explains how.
Positive psychology is the science of wellbeing, happiness and optimal functioning. It studies the conditions needed for humans to flourish and thrive rather than simply avoid suffering. Positive psychology coaching helps identify personal goals and develops skills and resources.
Dysregulated breathing can be a cause of problems such as stress, anxiety, panic, irritability, fatigue and brain fog. Optimal breathing can be a platform for clear focus and emotional wellbeing. This article explains why breathing is so important in stress management.
Training heart coherence with HRV biofeedback can benefit physical health (e.g. IBS) emotional wellbeing and cognitive performance (e.g. focus, concentration). This article defines HRV heart coherence, and explains how HRV biofeedback can benefit stress, anxiety, focus, etc.
Capnometry measures carbon dioxide in exhaled air and is the best way to detect over-breathing or hyperventilation. Over-breathing significantly impairs brain performance. Training breathing with capnometry biofeedback can help develop emotional resilience, focus and clarity.
EMG is a measure of muscle tension and EMG biofeedback can help stress and anxiety management. This article explains how.
This article explains what EEG neurofeedback is, what it can be used for, and how it creates benefits. I discuss differences between some of the main forms of EEG neurofeedback, and compare it to peripheral biofeedback.
Article describing various forms of neurotherapy including neurofeedback, tDCS, CES and AVE and how they work to help anxiety, stress, mood problems, attention and focus, and brain performance gernally
Hemoencephalography or HEG is a form of neurofeedback based on detecting changes in metabolic activity in the front part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, which is a key player in executive function (focus, concentration, self-organisation etc.) and emotional regulation. This article explains how HEG neurofeedback works.
EEG can give a useful assessment of brain function and can suggest ways of improving brain performance, such as neurofeedback and brain stimulation techniques (AVS, tDCS). This article explains how.
Describes how biofeedback can make mindfulness meditation practice more effective (so you spend less time in distraction) by supporting the preconditions for flow
Richie Davidson, a leading neuroscience, and has identified four key constituents of wellbeing that can be trained leading to his important conclusion: wellbeing is a skill
Stress management can be seen as a project - you need clear, achievable goals and the right skills and resources. The major work of stress reduction is training and developing skills.
A short but radical view of what you need to effectively manage stress - anxiety, panic, fatigue, insomnia - focusing on skills and resources, also mindset, and the best tools for developing resililence
First of a series of articles on stress resilience, looking at what can and can't be changed about stress and anxiety
What is it that amplifies minor stress into major problems - painful emotions like anxiety and panic? In this article I suggest it's an avoidant coping strategy - trying to push difficult feelings out of awareness.
This article presents the well-known Human Performance Curve as a way of thinking about stress and ineffective coping - trying harder takes you further away from the point of peak performance. Effective stress management means learning different skills.
Case study of how biofeedback helped a client learn to control her volatile anger much more effectively - by letting go of over-control and avoiding the quicksand trap
Happiness or wellbeing takes different forms and this article looks at the major aspects, as defined By Martin Seligman's PERMA model from Positive Psychology
Your view of what stress means conditions how you respond to it. Reframing is a coaching technique that shifts your view of what stress is, and hence how you try to manage stress.
This article looks at the conditions humans need for emotional well-being - or in other words what are our emotional needs
Stress resilience is a skill-set based on mind-body skills or the ability to regulate the mind-body connection. In this article I explore five skills that are the foundation of resilience.
Growth mindset and fixed mindset describe different attitudes towards learning and intelligence - but what is your mindset when it comes to stress management?
Biohacking is the art and science of optimising your well-being and performance by measuring, tracking and optimising your biology.
How you view stress (your stress mindset) conditions how you respond to stress, and how well you cope. This article looks at the consequences of a negative stress mindset and how to move to a positive stress mindset.
CBT posits that negative emotions such as anxiety and depression arise in response to problematic thinking patterns. Is that really the case?
Tightening up is an almost reflex part of the stress response, especially when we're trying to avoid or suppress bad feelings. Learning to be aware of and let go of muscle tension is a key part of stress resilience.
Deep, slow breathing is perhaps the most commonly used stress management technique, but often people inadvertently induce over-breathing, which is far from optimal breathing.
In my Stress Resilience Blueprint I list my three favourite tools for training and developing the skill-set of resilience. This article explores them in more depth.
One big reason stress is a problem is that it wrecks focus. At least part of the mechanism is that it induces over-breathing which paradoxically reduces oxygen delivery to brain cells.
A case study describing how one client went from almost-daily panic attacks involving hyperventilation or over-breathing, to being completely free of panic attacks
I've identified five key mind-body skills as the basis of stress resilience, and one of these, self-awareness, is the foundation for all the others and for higher-level faculties such as empathy. In this article I explore the importance of self-awareness in stress-resilience.
Could you benefit from improving your emotional awareness and emotional literacy? This article shows you how.
When we consider any proposition the brain automatically simulates how it would feel. Decision paralysis happens when we get stuck in bad feelings and can't access the positive motivation we need. Further thinking doesn't help - we need a mind-body approach.
The experience of flow states is one of the core components of well-being, but how do we deliberately and consciously access flow? In this article I explore the preconditions for the arising of flow.
A case study describing how one client learned to recover much more quickly from anger outbursts using biofeedback techniques
How well you focus on the present moment correlates with your general well-being. Attention is like a muscle that can be trained using techniques such as neurofeedback, biofeedback and mindfulness.
Mindfulness has research-proven benefits including reducing anxiety and depression but what is the mechanism of action? In this article I offer my take.
The ability to access positive emotion is one of the key skills supporting emotional resilience. This article looks at what positive emotion is (drawing on the work of positive psychology researcher Barbara Frederickson) and how you can develop positivity.
Lots of people take a mindfulness meditation course but don't persist with a regular practice. I suspect it's because they don't find mindfulness very gratifying. Here I suggest how biofeedback might help.
Surprisingly a lot of my clients struggle to name more than two or three positive emotions when asked. This article gives a definitive list from leading Positive Psychology researcher Barbara Frederickson, and suggests why it's important to be aware of positive emotions.
Sports psychologist Steve Peters' model of the "chimp brain" encapsulates the idea that there are different parts of the mind or brain that can at times be in conflict. Developing resilience skills means learning to work with these parts.
This article explores how to work with more emotional parts of the mind, which aren't necessarily under direct conscious control. Effective stress management requires skills in managing these parts.
A key component of stress resilience is the ability to step apart from negative or unhelpful thinking - not the same as disputing beliefs. This skill is called cognitive defusion.
In stress management we often think firstly in terms of avoiding feeling bad, rather than how we would like to feel instead. It can be helpful to get clear on what this is - this article offers some thoughts
There's a common perception that stress can be harmful to performance and even health, but at times it can be helpful. The question is how and when?
A case study of how a client made important progress with anxiety, panic and stress, but not a dramatic recovery, which is perhaps a more typical outcome of my biofeedback work.
Will-power is the ability to hold to your plans, values and aspirations, in the face of short term distractions and temptations. It is dependent on conditions, including physiological. This article describes how you can support will-power by training physiology with biofeedback.
One of the greatest contributions of Martin Seligman, founder of positive psychology, is the idea of learned optimism. This article looks at what defines optimism and how you can consciously cultivate it as a antidote to depression and anxiety
In the face of stress most of us would agree that what we want instead is relaxation. This article explores the idea that relaxation is not a singular state, but a range of states.
Traditionally mindfulness teaching says don't try to change the breath, but here I argue there's a case for learning to breathe in a certain way (i.e. optimal breathing) as long as it's done with the right mindset.
Biohacking stress means objectively measuring or testing how stress affects you using, then targeting changes, then tracking the effects with more stress testing. This article looks at ways to objectively measure stress.
Reframing stress means shifting your stress mindset, or how you view stress. This article suggests five helpful ways to look at stress that can reduce its negative impact.
There is evidence that heart coherence biofeedback training can increase well-being and reduce anxiety and depression, but what is the mechanism for creating these benefits? This article explores this question.
cognitive biases are important in stress management because they can trigger spirals of negative beliefs and feelings. This article discusses some key cognitive biases and the role they play in stress, anxiety and depression.
Mindset (assumptions that condition how you see the world) has a significant and measurable effect on our biology, and thus on health. In this article I give some examples, and speculate on the causal mechanisms and relevance to stress management.
When you're stressed it's easy to think what you need is to relax and calm down, but research shows trying to relax can make things worse. For stress management a more appropriate resource is not relaxation but confidence. Relaxation comes later.
Mindfulness meditation is most gratifying when it has some of the qualities of flow states. In this article I suggest using biofeedback in the context of mindfulness practice supports three key preconditions for flow.
A common goal in stress management is to reduce stressful emotions such as anxiety and anger, but you need to be able to discern even small changes. In this article I suggest different aspects of stressful emotions to be aware of.
Developmental goals are one way that therapists and coaches can frame their client's journey - instead of specific outcomes we focus on skills and resources the client needs to develop, to feel better.
The quicksand trap is a reframe used by therapists and coaches to shift focus from the impossible goal of suppressing anxiety to developing resilience. It's also an important metaphor for biofeedback work.
Three ways in which biofeedback works as a tool to develop the skill-set of stress resilience
Mindset (a set of beliefs and assumptions, perhaps unconscious) conditions how we respond to stress. This article looks at how an unhelpful mindset can make stress worse.
Part 2 of this review of stress mindset looks at how clients see stress and what it means. I show how you can enquire about stress mindset, and give some useful and interesting video resources.
Developmental goals frame the work of therapy in terms of developing and training new skills and resources. Here I look at five mind-body skills, or skills in managing the mind-body connection so that clients can create physiology that supports optimal mental states. Biofeedback is an ideal tool for training mind-body skills.
Attention is a faculty that can be trained and developed. Attention is important not just for cognitive performance but for emotional well-being and stress resilience. Mindfulness, neurofeedback and biofeedback are tools that can help train attention and focus.
Making Sense Of The Quicksand Trap Part 1: The Human Performance Curve - Another Key Reframe For Coaches & Therapists
This article looks at the Human Performance Curve as a tool to help clients understand what happens in stress situations, especially when they make things worse by trying too hard (i.e. the "quicksand trap").
This article introduces another model that helps clients to make sense of and move forward from the quicksand trap, i.e. stress situations where they are making things worse not better.
CBT targets the way thoughts and beliefs condition feelings, but feelings, or physiology, can in turn condition beliefs. Biofeedback complements CBT by teaching clients to shift their physiology.
Resistance is the inner act of pushing away or rejecting experience, while avoidance is a kind of behavioural resistance. They are common coping strategies for stress and anxiety. This article suggests inner resources for working more effectively.
The Brain As Experiential Simulator: How We Make Decisions & Choices, & How Stress Can Get In The Way
This article takes a practical look at the neuroscience of emotion and feeling and how it plays out in the case of anxiety and stress.
Many practitioners teach clients to manage stress using slow deep breathing. But taught in the wrong way, this technique often leads to over-breathing or hyperventilation, which is not helpful. This article explains what optimal breathing is and how to teach it to clients.
EMG biofeedback helps train greater self-awareness which is the basis of empathy and emotional intelligence
An article considering the pattern of a flat level of cortisol over the course of the day, how it reflects poor stress tolerance, and what you can do about it.
Article looking at the relative influences of breathing and positive emotion on heart coherence, and using a mindfulness meditation session to illustrate
In this article I offer some personal thoughts on how to prepare for a mindfulness meditation practice, in the hope that it might benefit others
Mindfulness is a high-level mental skillset - this article considers what underlying abilities make up mindfulness
Power over others shows an inverse relationship to empathy and perspective-taking. In this article I suggest that our ability to move and influence others without using force is the opposite - it's enhanced by empathy. I discuss how the same general principle applies in biofeedback work.
The placebo response is typically attributed to the power of belief or expectation but I think it's something else - imagination
Research findings that adjusting body physiology can affect emotions and mood, and how to take advantage of this using biofeedback
Wim Hof aka the ice man achieves amazing feats using a breathing technique involving deliberate hyperventilation - this article looks at how it works and the implications for anxiety management
Can You Intentionally Activate The Sympathetic Nervous System With Breathing Techniques (Without Over-breathing)
I tried a home experiment to see the effect of shifting my inhalation to exhalation ratio on autonomic balance as measured using HRV - this article describes the results.
HRV or heart coherence biofeedback apps are increasingly popular as tools for stress management and performance improvement - but how do they quantify this slightly mysterious concept of heart coherence?
In this article I show a graph of EMG or muscle tension, which dropped steadily over at least 20 minutes of a mindfulness meditation practice. I explain how muscle tension biofeedback supported the practice.
75% or more GP visits are stress related. This article explains how stress affects gut function and from there, health and well-being in general
Do panic attacks really come out of the blue? Evidence suggests there are physiological warning signs up to 45 minutes in advance.
I describe an experiment on myself - what happens to skin conductance (GSR) when I shift my breathing to a high inhalation to exhalation ratio?
Is anxiety a brain-based or body-based experience? A recent BBC documentary sheds some interesting light on this question.
An introduction to a series of articles examining the questions of what causes chronic persistent hyperventilation (showing up as stubbornly low carbon dioxide readings from a capnometer) and what you can do about it.
This article is part 3 in a series examining the causes of chronic hyperventilation or over-breathing (manifesting in stubbornly low carbon dioxide readings from a capnometer. Here we investigate acid production and acidity regulation in the body.
This article is part 3 in a series examining the causes of chronic hyperventilation or over-breathing (manifesting in stubbornly low carbon dioxide readings from a capnometer. Here we examine causes in greater depth.
Final part of a series of articles exploring the questions of what might be causing chronic and resistant over-breathing or hyperventilation (showing up as stubbornly low carbon dioxide readings from a capnometer) and secondly what we might do to address such problems
Recently I followed three days of fasting mimicking, which amongst other things is designed to trigger nutritional ketosis. I wanted to experience the effect on my meditation practice. In this article I describe what happened.
Most mindfulness research studies use self-report questionnaires to measure mindfulness, but these have significant flaws. Here I discuss an alternative and more objective way to measure and track mindfulness.
Psychologist William Tracy describes the results of his n=1 experiment to test whether paced breathing can lower blood pressure