Stress is a common term in our current busy society and is best described by how one feels and responses, when dealing with challenges and pressures.

The cause of stress is the production of excessive ‘stress hormones’. When experiencing pressure, the central nervous system is activated, which enables the body to produce stress hormones as part of the natural ‘fight or flight response’ designed to prepare our bodies mentally and physically for danger.

Normally, the level of stress hormones will stabilise again, when the pressure has gone, but when there is persistent pressure, or when pressures are too high to cope with, the level of stress hormones stays too high, generating several mental and psychical symptoms. In such situations, stress can for example have a great impact on someone’s feelings, thoughts, behaviours, as well appetite and sleeping patterns.

An important point is that what makes us stressed differs from person to person and that stress is a problem when an individual perceives that the demands on them are more than they can cope with.

Neurofeedback can reduce stress in two ways:

  1. It can help alleviate the symptoms of stress.
  2. It can train the brain to cope better with Stress and avoid the symptoms.

Because stress is not measured directly, researchers don’t study the impact of Neurofeedback on stress directly, they have studied the impact of Neurofeedback on many of the symptoms and causes of stress that can be measured.

For example the first study on using Neurofeedback to reduce Anxiety was published in 1978: Hardt, J. V., and Kamiya, J. (1978). Anxiety change through electroencephalographic alpha feedback seen only in high anxiety subjects. Science, 201, 79-81.

This paper considered multiple studies on Neurofeedback treatment for Anxiety and Depression, finding particularly positive research support for the treatment of anxiety disorders”: Hammond, D. Corydon. “Neurofeedback treatment of depression and anxiety.” Journal of Adult Development 12.2-3 (2005): 131-137.

Neurofeedback training has proven to be very helpful in stress, especially since the central nervous system – which enables the body to produce stress hormones – is trained to cope better with varying demands to avoid stress.

This is different to managing stress, where one learns to deal with stress symptoms, or medication, which suppresses the symptoms. With Neurofeedback the central nervous system can be stabilised. Additionally, the agitation caused by stress can be calmed down and self control can be increased. This will decrease feelings of anxiety or anger and improve self-esteem, concentration and organisational skills.


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