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Based on the work of psychologist Robert Thayer, this matrix is one of the key scientific underpinnings of Shanker Self-Reg®, helping us understand the relationship between stress, energy and tension. Every day our brains and bodies are subject to constantly shifting states of arousal, which Dr. Thayer defined in terms of four possible combinations of energy and tension:

  • Low energy/low tension: good for sleep and relaxation
  • High energy/high tension: good for physical and mental challenges (sports, getting away from threats, major mental challenges)
  • High energy/low tension: alert, yet relaxed state ideal for most daily activities
  • Low energy/high tension: feeling stressed out: irritable, distractible, and  lack of energy for doing the tasks at hand

When we are overstressed and unable to restore our energy and reduce tension it becomes very hard to return to the state of calm alertness we need to be in most of the time. Thus, energy and tension levels affect our behaviour, thinking, moods, reactions and social interaction.

Thayer Matrix

Learn more:

Our Leadership for Self-Reg Schools Program explores the Thayer Matrix in detail.

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