Post by Eugenie Pabst, PsyD.
This can be a very anxiety-provoking time of year. How often do you think about your breath? Most likely, only when you are out of breath, or when it’s sharp, shallow and stressed. Breathing is automatic; it takes place without you even thinking about it and we rarely give it much attention. However, if we tune into our breath, it can tell us a great deal about how we are feeling physically, mentally and emotionally. Much of our distress is caused by anticipation of the future (anxiety) or by dwelling on the past (depression). Often times, it is very difficult to free ourselves from such emotional distress on our own. However, the simple rhythm of your breathing can bring you back to the here and now. By controlling your breath, you can learn how to master your thoughts and, in doing so, have more control over your body’s responses to stress, physical strain and emotional stimuli.
Biofeedback Therapy is a training process that teaches you how to do this. It is a form of “applied psychophysiology” that increases your awareness and is designed to teach you how to have more control over your mind and body. With the assistance of a variety of monitoring devices, including those that measure respiration, heart rate, skin temperature and muscle activity, you can learn how to control certain involuntary body responses that result when your autonomic nervous system is compromised under physical or mental stress.
Through in-office training and self-practice, you can learn how to let go of limiting habitual patterns (poor breathing, obsessive thoughts, worry, fear, anxiety, poor posture) and develop self-regulation tools for better management of stress. Treatment is short-term with the ultimate goal of learning how to produce positive physical and cognitive changes outside of the biofeedback office and without the help of a therapist or technology. By learning how to “just breathe” and become more aware in your daily life, you will learn how to stay present and in control…and the holidays may be more enjoyable?
Dr. Eugénie Pabst is a clinical Psychologist who specializes in Biofeedback therapy. By utilizing Biofeedback, Dr. Pabst teaches her clients a self-regulation skill that inspires growth and healing through self-awareness. As a LifeSkills Authorities Recovery Team member, Dr. Pabst can be an integral part of the healing process. She is a sought after Biofeedback specialist in Chicagoland and has a private practice Lincoln Park.