Test Your Stress When You're on the Go!
How do you know when you've really reached that state of being relaxed, inside and out? Sometimes we feel like we are relaxed and someone says, "Wow, you sure do look uptight". Obviously we thought wrong. You may feel relaxed on the inside but you're frazzled on the outside. Or just the opposite can happen. You feel like you're "spun" and running in circles on the inside when you hear, "Gee, you look like the picture of calm".
What's up with that? Just because you feel like you've brought yourself to a state of relaxation on the inside doesn't mean you have biologically.
With the fast paced world we live in today stress has become an increasing problem for people. The stress induced headache, migraines, ulcers, your appetite can even be affected to the point of significant weight loss or gain.
To attain and maintain a desirable stress level a person needs to monitor their stress level, pay attention to it. When a person first decides to manage their stress level, they may have to stop and take a self evaluation several times a day at first. After maybe a week of these repeated self checks, the human body begins to adapt to this new behavior your introducing to it and you won't find you need to stop every hour and do a self evaluation.
Some devices that can help a person quickly, and fairly accurately, self evaluate are available on the market today. There's even a device for the DIY'er (Do It Yourselfer)! A cool little gadget you can make and test. I enjoy electronics a great deal, so this little project was perfect for me, and it really works too!
In my clinical practice, after the initial visit with the patient, I always gave them a chart to monitor their progress as it pertained to them and I would give them a biofeedback card to carry in their wallet. I asked them to take it out anytime they felt they were under stress and make a mental note of the color result. I also asked them to randomly take out the card and check their level. For example when they pull into work in the parking garage, when they step into the elevator take out their card and check their level. Again, maybe at break, or lunch time and once more in the evening. This way they can come to a very good understanding off their personal stress triggers. Once I had a patient that was having lunch with some co-workers when he decided to take out the card for a random check and was shocked to find his stress level was at its maximum! Those lunches with his co-workers was far more stressful than any other part of his day we learned. He had presented in my office with unpredictable stomach irritation and in need of stress reducing techniques and he was seeing a dietitian. When he discovered the high stress levels he had at the lunches he was able to change his lunch schedule without much ado from his co-workers about it and it eliminated the rolls of antacid he usually kept in his desk drawer for the burning he endured after lunch!
It's not always practical to seek out a biofeedback therapist to put your life under a microscope and look for the stress.
That's when a simple homemade device or a "biofeedback card" like the one my patient with the unpredictable stomach irritation used, can come in handy. There are homemade devices so small and convenient that they fit in your purse and be used just about anywhere! The biofeedback card is the size of a credit card you fit into your wallet and it is surprisingly accurate. Using one of these devices can increase your relaxation response by just knowing your exercises are working!
Galvanic Skin Response Sensor
This device, which is homemade, measures the moisture you produce as a level of stress. When you're stressed your skin produces sweat, which this device can pick up at the lowest of levels. It is a biofeedback mechanism you can make at home! Here's the website with complete instructions and experiments you can perform when using it.
The "Biofeedback" Card
The biofeedback card is small enough to fit into your wallet. Its the same size as a credit card. It works by measuring the temperature of your finger and it will "feed back" the results in a color indicating your stress level.
To use this card:
- Take the card out of your storage ie: wallet, purse, back pocket, and let it settle to room temperature. (210 - 230 C; 700 - 740)
- Place your finger on the square in the center. Do NOT press your finger on it. Just set it on it.
- Count out ten seconds.
- Remove your finger noting the color the square has turned and match that color to the predifined color dial above the square.
The Color Coded Results!
You are STRESSED to your limit right now! Take 10 minutes and do some deep breathing excercises!
Practice Your Breathing Excercises. This too shall pass.
Everybody has some stress once in a while. Take a deep breath, let it out slowly and check your stress level again.
You're the epitomy of peace and tranquility. Keep up the good work!
Biofeedback Card Results Colors
Lie Detector Games
There are several games on the market now that offer a GSR detector as part of the playing pieces. They are listed under "lie detector" games. When people are not being honest it has been found, that their stress level rises, which in turn causes the sweat glands to go into over-drive. The GSR game piece detects this rise in moisture indicating, as the game is focused to, a lie or that it is detecting stress indicative of a lie.