Alexander Technique For Stress Management

“It’s great! It helps me keep working” B.L. – middle manager
“It helps me to think more clearly” W.G. – senior public servant
“I can control stress levels. It’s an immediate stress management technique” M.T. – mother and consultant

What creates stress in us is the way we respond to a situation, not the situation itself. Stress involves a loss of poise. Our response to a stressful situation can disturb our own balance and distort our perceptions so that problems assume greater proportions and available time appears to shrink.

How to keep a level head

The Alexander Technique provides us with a way of being conscious of our reactions and choosing when, where and how to give expression to them without being at their mercy. This enhanced awareness can help us to choose to behave differently at the moment of response to a situation. It helps us to maintain distance and perspective on a situation.

Balance, posture, muscular tension and awareness

Relationships between balance, posture, muscular tension and awareness, aspects not usually recognised as interrelated, are taken into account in The Alexander Technique.

It embodies a three-pronged approach.

It works first through the muscular system by recognising that there is a primary control of muscular tension throughout the whole body. This obviates the necessity for the individual to come to relaxation and stillness by trying to progressively and laboriously relax every muscle in turn. Then, by understanding how to make use of the “primary control” of muscular tension and releasing physical tension, one frees energy and attention. Finally, practising the Alexander Technique involves schooling one’s attention. The discipline of this centering (in the central axis of the body) helps to keep attention in the here-and-now. Furthermore, centred body awareness cues us in to when we are going off balance. The Alexander Technique offers the possibility of control in process, rather than a palliative measure in dealing with stress build-up after the event.

“You translate everything, whether physical or mental or spiritual, into muscular tension” F.M. Alexander

“People are not disturbed by events, but by their reactions to events” Epictetus, 1st Century A.D. Rome.

© Michael Stenning

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