How Care Coaching Can Reduce Stress

How Care Coaching Can Reduce Stress

Modern day life is filled with stressors, which are actual or perceived threats. Stress is our psychophysiological response to a stressor.

Imagine you are driving in a car on the highway and all of sudden, out of nowhere, you are cut off by a charging rhinoceros!!! Immediately, the familiar feeling of stress occurs. This can include pounding heart, tunnel vision, dilated pupils, dry mouth, muscle tensing, flushed face and other physiological changes. This is also known as the fight-or-flight response and is caused by a complicated cascade choreographed by our endocrine and nervous systems, and ultimately driven by sympathetic nervous system activation. In this example, the rhinoceros is the stressor.

The stress response is your body's way of preparing you to take the necessary actions to preserve your life - fight or flee. Of course, most of us are unlikely to experience a rhino charge during our day to day. However, our physiological response to stress is pretty much the same today as when our ancestors dealt with dangerous daily disturbances. The stress response occurs not just to physical danger, but also mental and emotional threats such as worrying about work, family, and financial obligations, or any number of modern-day hassles.

Stress and Headache Disorders

Living with a chronic condition, such as a headache disorder, can in and of itself be a major stressor as well as compound other daily stressors. This can include having to miss work or balancing work with medical appointments, dealing with insurance paperwork, worrying about the future, not being able to do the activities you want to do, and on and on and on and on. Stress, in turn, can exacerbate your symptoms and this can become a vicious cycle.

It's important to remember that stress does not cause migraine. However, stress is a common migraine trigger.

How Care Coaching Can Help

Your Neura Health care coach can help you build, implement, and sustain a stress management routine that works for you. There are many known stress management techniques. However, just as everyone has different life stressors and responses, different stress management practices work best for different people. This is why it is important to work one-on-one with your coach to find the practices that work best for you and fit in with your life.

While coaching is not therapy, having a caring professional actively listen, act as a sounding board, and help you brainstorm can be a very helpful support. If you are experiencing high levels of anxiety, depression, or your stress is significantly interfering with your ability to complete daily tasks, this might be outside the scope of practice of a coach, so scheduling an appointment with a psychologist or a psychiatrist might be the best thing to help you. You can talk to your coach about this if you feel it might apply to your situation. 

In addition to lending a listening ear, your coach may work with you on practices meant to elicit the relaxation response. These can help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Whereas sympathetic nervous system activation is largely responsible for the "fight-or-flight" response, parasympathetic activation leads to what is known as the "rest and digest" response and counteracts the stress response. Practices can include evidence based breathing and mindfulness techniques.

Other stress management techniques that your coach might help you with include building a personal self-care routine, purposely and proactively eliciting positive emotions such as gratitude, movement, healthier eating, getting better sleep, bringing out your creativity, and a whole host of other practices. Most importantly, your care coach will take the time to listen, get to know you and your situation, and form a working partnership with you to develop a stress management routine that resonates with and works for you.

But they won’t just stop there. You will have someone to check in with, help make adjustments, provide support and encouragement, as well as help you overcome obstacles, and of course celebrate with you when you achieve your goals!  All you have to do is open up the Neura Health app and schedule an appointment time that works for you. 

Haven't tried Neura membership yet? Care coaching is included in the program at no additional charge. Sign up here to begin your trial membership so you can book a coaching appointment today.

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Cary Sears, Head of Care Coaching
Cary Sears is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach
About the Author
Cary Sears is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC) with over 10 years of direct care experience across diverse settings including community agencies, medical centers, and digital health. He is currently Head of Care Coaching for Neura Health. Prior to Neura, he was a Senior Health Coach Manager at Noom where he led a group of managers that supported a team of remote health coaches focused on helping mobile app users live healthier lives by pioneering innovative ways to merge behavior change with technology. His previous professional experience includes conducting neuropsychological testing at the Cleveland Clinic. He earned a Master’s degree in Psychology from Cleveland State University and a Master’s degree in User Experience Design from Kent State University. His research experience is in the areas of coping with chronic illness, psychophysiology, and biofeedback. His passion is merging high-tech and high-touch interventions to create positive health behavior change.

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