In a previous blog post, I talked about how I recovered my centre following trauma, and mentioned kinesiology and its role in my recovery.
I have since been asked whether I could describe the techniques I used when learning kinesiology to help me recover from negative patterns of reacting, in particular to relationship issues. This was actually the subject of my talk at the Symposium for Health event in February this year, and I will describe this as best I can here.
Now, this is simply one of the techniques I learned through the practice of kinesiology, and is the simplest you can teach others in helping themselves release the stress on a deeply held emotion.
First it's important to understand what role emotion plays in our deeply held beliefs, both conscious and, more importantly, subconscious.
How Emotion Gets 'Locked' in our Bodies
When our bodies experience stress we have a physiological response that will happen in everyone. This reaction, which occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack or threat to our survival, is more commonly known as our “flight or fight” response. These changes, while universal, will vary in intensity, depending on the severity of the stress or trauma.
I have bolded the word “perceived” in the previous sentence, because it is important to understand that our brains experience perceived stress in the same way it does actual stress. Furthermore, during this stressful event, we will experience an emotional component as one of the physiological response, which the mind then associates with that event, situation or person who is causing the stress.
Just because someone doesn’t show external signs of trauma, doesn’t mean it is no less damaging. It’s important to note that stress can be physical, emotional or mental, and our bodies don’t distinguish between any source of trauma – our flight or fight system will trigger in exactly the same way. This is why mental or emotional trauma is just as significant as physical trauma, and in many cases can be far more reaching and long-lasting than physical wounds.
One of the effects of stress is the “locking” of our emotions which seem almost to haunt us, causing us to react the same way, over and over, to events that trigger that emotion. In other words, we may ’forget’ the initial stressful incident, but all the information about that stress is stored in our bio-computer. Our bodies and brains will recall the emotion every time we encounter a similar situation. The result is a cumulative effect that leads to feeling like we are constantly under stress, or ‘distressed’ virtually constantly.
Unlock the emotion on stress
I learned a technique in kinesiology called Emotional Stress Release (ESR), that seems almost laughably simple. However, it is a very powerful technique that delivers freedom from stress by helping to rebalance our emotion on an incident. The physical effects of ESR include a general sense of lightness and relaxation and a lifting of mental fog. You can use ESR to relieve stress on virtually anything – relationships which are under stress can be helped immensely; children respond to ESR quickly and easily; you can even experience physical benefits such as clearer vision and hearing following the technique.
Use ESR often – in fact, whenever you are emotionally stressed. This includes past, present and future stressful events. Future events can include preparing for exams, a job interview, an athletic event, or changing lifestyle habits such as diet and health issues. Past events include working on resolving old hurts, working through recent misunderstandings or addressing anger management patterns.
The technique is non-invasive and doesn’t call attention to itself, so you can do it anywhere. I have used it while sitting at my desk. I’ve quickly checked in with my emotions while standing in front of my fridge, deciding whether to eat that leftover ice cream or not, and trying to work out why I am in the grip of a comfort eating urge!
How to do the ESR technique
First, check in with your body and mind – assess your stress level (or your energy towards your day, or the situation). Note it down on a scale of 0 to 10.
Optional: find the emotion related to your issue. If you are familiar with the concept of self muscle testing (I use whole body testing by using my body like a pendulum) you can employ this to pinpoint the emotion. Refer to this chart, called the Five Element Emotion Chart, and use whole body testing or self-muscle testing to find the emotion underlying the stress you are feeling right now. While this gives you greater insight into the underlying emotion on your stress, it is purely OPTIONAL for this technique.
Once you have located the emotion, put your hands on your forehead (as in the picture below). You can also place the other hand at the base of the neck – this will connect your forebrain (rational) to your brain stem (reactive). Close your eyes and lightly hold these points, while focusing on the event or problem.
Breathe, and let everything flow over you. In a few seconds you will get feelings, sensations and thoughts flow through you – see the details (be aware of colours, sounds, shapes, smells and feelings). Make it real – you may notice your breathing change, your eyes flicker or move to a particular side, you may feel jubilant or tearful. Let it all wash over you.
Continue to lightly hold your forehead, breathe and relax. These signs of stress will pass.
After a few moments or minutes (it can take up to 2 to 3 minutes to get a release), a priority of importance in the decision making or a clarity of ideas will come. If you are a person who makes lists, now is the time to pick up a pen and make notes as the awareness come. You will find the panic, overwhelm and nervousness you felt before have gone. You can move calmly and confidently through your day. When your mind starts to wander you know the event is cleared of immediate stress.
Now reassess how you feel on a scale of 0 to 10.
Repeat the process as different aspects of the stress comes to mind. It is okay to do it often.
How does ESR work?
ESR uses special reflex points on our forehead which bring more blood to our front brain. Front brain thinking is related to creative ways of thinking, and can bring new insights, options and alternatives to old problems. When we use the front brain we tend to find new ways of looking at old problems, new possibilities and alternative solutions.
When we hold the back of our neck at the same time as holding our forehead, we are connecting our front brain to our back brain (brain stem). Back brain thinking is related to our survival response mode, and hence is very “reactive”. Here we generate automatic reactions based on the alarm and vigilance responses as well as on past experiences.
By connecting the two, we can bring fresh insights to old responses – literally and physically.
Stress chemicals and hormones have been shown to reduce front brain-back brain connection, as well as left-right brain integration. This prevents us thinking creatively under stress. The ESR technique reverses this process. This has the effect of reducing or erasing the biochemical triggers to the old stress memories and thus relieves stress.
Welcome to my book website, Marrying Bipolar. As you made it to the blog, you may be interested in learning a little more about me. I was born and bred in Sydney since 1973 to a very tight knit and loving family. We all have our issues, though, and my life's ambition was to become the best person I could be through education, hard yakka (that's work for non-Australians reading this!) and trying to learn as much about myself and others as possible.