COMPANION

Stress

F. M. Alexander

In CCC F. M. Alexander relates the story of an author who suffered a breakdown:

A pupil of mine, an author, had been in a serious state of health for some time, and had at last reached the point where he was unable to carry on his literary work. After finishing his latest book he passed through a crisis which was described as a ‘breakdown,’ with the result that even a few hours of work caused him great fatigue and brought on a state of painful depression. From the outset of his lessons, therefore, I expressly stipulated that he should stop and make a break at the end of each half-hour’s writing, and should then either do fifteen minutes’ work in respiratory re-education, or take a walk in the open air before resuming his writing.[1]

(The friend may have been John Dewey.)

Articles

  • ‘The Alexander Technique and its application to stress’ by Judith Leibowitz is an introduction to the Technique and its contribution to dealing with stress. It is a previously unpublished MS of a presentation at the International Conference on Mind, Body and the Performing Arts, Stress Processes, in 1985.[2]
  • ‘Alexander Technique and burnout prevention’ by Martina Süss and Christine Weixler; on the symptoms and consequences of burnout, how it can lead to a downward spiral, and strategies for creating a refreshing upward spiral including the principles of the Technique.[3]
  • ‘I could not feel so I learnt to touch’ by Richard Brennan argues that the Technique can be extremely effective in combating the effects of stress or emotional pain.[4]

Booklets

  • The Control of Tension by Theodore Dimon Jr.; the Alexander Technique as a method in dealing with the causes of tension and stress.[5]

Books

  • Mind and Body Stress Relief with the Alexander Technique by Richard Brennan; on how the Technique can alleviate physical stress and help to reduce mental and emotional stress.[6]

Research

‘A study of stress amongst professional musicians’ by M. Nielsen is a study which examined performance stress in musicians, and found that the Alexander Technique was as effective as beta-blocker medications in controlling the stress response during an orchestra performance.[7]

See also Fear, Emotions, Psychology.

References

[1] Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), p. 124.
[2] ‘The Alexander Technique and its application to stress’ by Judith Leibowitz in AmSAT Journal issue no. 4, Fall 2013, pp. 21–22.
[3] ‘Alexander Technique and burnout prevention’ by Martina Süss and Christine Weixler in The Congress Papers 2015, Empowering Humanity, Inspiring Science edited by Rachel Gering-Hasthorpe (STAT Books, 2016), pp. 308–13.
[4] ‘I could not feel so I learnt to touch’ by Richard Brennan in The Congress Papers 2015, Empowering Humanity, Inspiring Science edited by Rachel Gering-Hasthorpe (STAT Books, 2016), pp. 29–34.
[5] The Control of Tension by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Author, 1998), booklet.
[6] Mind and Body Stress Relief with the Alexander Technique by Richard Brennan (Thorsons, 1998).
[7] ‘A study of stress amongst professional musicians’ by M. Nielsen (1994) in The Alexander Technique: Medical and Physiological Aspects, Chris Stevens (Ed.) STAT Books, London.