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From PhD to finalist – Peter’s work recognised at Amplify Ignite 2018

Posted on the 9 November 2018

We’re excited to share that Positive Psychology Centre founder Peter Kyriakoulis has been commended for his doctoral research.

As a finalist in Amplify Ignite 2018, Peter flew to Sydney on Wednesday 14 November to deliver his pitch – in front of a live audience.

On the night, Peter had just 150 seconds to demonstrate why his research deserved a $5,000 investment.

His pitch was entertaining and personal – with Peter sharing stories of his grandma and submerging his face in cold water to explain his findings.

For the past seven years, Peter has studied the diving response as a treatment for panic disorder. The diving response is an innate physiological reflex that initiates when our face is cooled (e.g. by splashing cold water in your face) or if we hold our breath.

Peter has found that free diving breathing techniques are effective in slowing down the heart rate. This can provide relief for people in anxiety and panic states.

At Amplify, Peter proposed a cooling mask that activates the diving response to help treat panic attacks. The mask may not only be used to reverse panic and anxiety symptoms but may be used preventatively, decreasing anxiety-related symptoms.

It’s such a new area of research even though the field is really important, as many people suffer from anxiety and stress-related disorders,’ said Peter.

His pitch – which you can watch on LinkedIn – received lots of laughter and cheers, encouraging Peter to keep working until this mask is a commercial reality. Peter also received great feedback on his pitch from his LinkedIn followers.

With over two million Australians dealing with anxiety every year, Peter’s solution could make a real impact.