The Comprehensive Guide to EMDR Self-CoachingThe Comprehensive Guide to EMDR Self-Coaching

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Why Estimating Our Stress Level is Important

I admit that the question: “To what extent do you feel affected by the subject now?” is one that sounds somewhat stilted. But since this question is supposed to be precise, this formulation has in fact proven its worth. This alone increases participants’ attention. I could also formulate the question in the following way: “How high is your current level of stress if you think about your chosen topic?”

Some people, however, don’t feel burdened by their topic, but perhaps simply feel uncomfortable. To speak of a burden would, therefore, be incorrect. In contrast to coaching, in therapy one can very well assume a strain; but more about that later.

Regardless, it would be wrong to ask: “How do you feel when you think about your chosen topic?”, because here, it is clearly about the extent, the degree of feeling, while the subject is in front of your eyes. Your own perception of your own inner emotional state is what is to be quantified here.

In EMDR self-coaching, we use a scale from -10 to (+)10.

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While -10 represents the worst imaginable burden, 0 symbolizes a neutral emotional state. 10 denotes a state that cannot be improved: it is the best possible feeling!

The classic EMDR protocol uses a scale from 0 to 10, in which 0 is no load and 10 is the maximum load.


Since the classic EMDR protocol is used in therapy, this scale from 0 to 10 is sufficient. After all, therapy is usually about estimating the degree of discomfort. EMDR was developed by Francine Shapiro and comes from the USA, and the origin of this scale is called subjective units of disturbance (SUD).

In coaching or self-coaching, however, we often experience positive emotions, albeit usually only after an EMDR self-coaching application, and it is important to perceive and evaluate these emotions too.

Why is it important at all to estimate and note the extent of the subjective touch?

The discussion and evaluation of one’s own emotions alone is something which supports the personal maturation process, because we notice that personal uneasiness can assume a different degree.

Stress with your boss could correspond to a -3 on our scale, while an accident on the road in one’s own vehicle could represent a -5.

If we then take on an individual topic in EMDR self-coaching and reassess the degree of stress after self-coaching, we will usually find that there has been a reduction in perceived stress.

The assessment of the extent of our discomfort before and after a self-coaching session makes us aware that we are not at the mercy of our emotions, and that we can successfully help ourselves.

We gain more stress tolerance and have higher ambitions

The awareness that we can successfully shape our own emotional world in a positive way increases our personal stress tolerance and emotional competence. The mere knowledge that we do not have to be afraid of stress and other emotional burdens allows us to welcome the challenges of our lives more openly and to tackle even greater goals, if we so wish.

Mind-Map-EMDR-Selbstcoaching-768x543A helpful exercise that I like to do myself, and one which I often recommend, goes like this: I briefly collect my current concerns in the form of a mind map. I sit down at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee or tea. I then ask myself “What could I do without right now?”, and write down the topics that bother me without too much thought. This usually takes little more than 10 minutes. Then I estimate the present degree of my subjective involvement with each topic, and note the value of each topic on the sheet.

Next, I decide on one of the topics, the extent of involvement with which is the highest, which causes me the greatest discomfort. I go to my favourite chair, and deal with it in an EMDR self-coaching session with the EMDR Glasses REMSTIM 3000.

Since such a session usually lasts only a few minutes, I can sometimes still work on a second topic, one with a similar degree of discomfort.

Often, I notice that the topics are connected to each other. If I de-stress my emotional reaction to one topic, I have a good chance of looking at the other related topics in a new and more beautiful light.

In most cases, I feel much better afterwards. I feel calmer and more up to doing my tasks. The feeling that things are getting stored up in my head has given way to a new zest for life.

But there are certainly topics that I don’t want to coach on my own, because their degree of stress seems too high for me at the moment. I then decide to bear with such a topic, putting it aside for the time being in order to see whether time provides some relief. Often, I then dare to deal with it at a later time, due to a decreased load extent of an EMDR self-coaching session. Sometimes, I take this topic with me to my coach.

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