Other Stress Tests & Measuring Tools

Excerpt from Book Appendices

While researching the tools mentioned above, I looked at other possibilities for measurements of stress. These included measuring brain waves, skin conductivity, heart rates on a screen and wrist blood pressure cuffs. The Holy Grail of measuring is to be able to determine by measurement in real time when we are just telling ourselves self-garbage. I looked at various reasonably-priced tools in the hope that they would provide that. My hope was not realized. Over the longer term, I do believe our blood pressure, heart rate and fingertip temperatures will tell us when we are being self-deceiving.

I discarded the idea of using brain waves (Dr. Arthur Janov does measure them) because of the expense of the tools involved. Their cost (thousands of dollars each) would not permit average folks to self-measure. I suspect that a detailed examination of brain waves might tell us more accurately when we are lying to ourselves.

Temperature measurements have come out of the Dark Ages! Don't bother with anything but an infrared thermometer. So-called stress thermometers, probe thermometers, colored stress test cards and mercury thermometers are all very slow and often lack accuracy because of where and how they are placed in/on the body. Small "stress test" cards are usually interesting to people (and cheap ~$1 each) because just by putting their thumb down for ten seconds, the color on the card will reveal how stressed out they are:

<84F (29C) = tense 84-87F (29-31C) = nervous

87-91F (31-33C) = calm >91F (33C) = relaxed

Skin conductivity is also a measure of tension; for when we are tense, we sweat more. The salty sweat on our skin causes the skin conductivity to be higher. There are several popular skin conductivity tools available, often marketed as relaxation feedback systems, or lie detectors. (Professional lie detectors are expensive!) I never found the less expensive detectors to be accurate; they were very easy to beat. During times of severe tension, these did register change. But we don't need help recognizing major stress on faces or in voices. During more subtle times, these devices were clueless.

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze


Appendices A & B
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Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Once we are traumatized, we carry the unresolved trauma with us forever, unless we can somehow get the trauma knot untied by therapy or another personal growth method."