Eliminate Stress and Block the Haters with HRV Training

 

Image from, Ian Lott

Image from, Ian Lott

Getting Stressed Out is a Choice

This post is about my favorite method for turning off stress and dealing with anxiety.

Stress can be turned off, Like a light switch. You just have to know which switch.

This practice I am going to discuss, has been an absolute game changer for me. I have spent the majority of my adult life in an anxious/stressed out state because I did not know how to generate my own positive emotions. I relied on external influences to feel good and as a result, I was at the mercy of my environment.

If one of my coworkers got upset, I let it get to me. If someone was not paying attention while driving and missed a traffic light by .0005 sec’s. I got pissed.

Turning the Boat Around

My favorite biohack for turning off stress, is Heart Rate Variability Training. I learned about it, while following Dave Asprey and started regular biofeedback sessions soon after. It was ridiculously powerful for me from the very moment I started.

Something really awesome happens when you learn to start generating your own positive emotions. 

The heart Is a lot more than Just a Muscle

Most modern a pre-modern civilization seems to think the heart is way more than a blood pump and muscle. It is associated with Love, the soul, human connection, passion, integrity and honor. They are right.

It is an information processing center, which is constantly sending information to the rest of our bodies and to the people in our environment.

Think about It: On a subconscious level when we are talking with someone, our hearts are also communicating with each other.

That is powerful stuff.

Heart Rate Variability Matters

Think of a time, when you were in a city that had recently won a sports championship. Did you notice how the mood in the air felt positive and alive? You couldn’t put your finger on it, but you noticed it.

Now think of a time where everyone around you was in a bad mood or upset. The most vivid memory for me is when my employer was laying off a bunch of people. I walked in that morning and the negative energy hit me in the face as I walked in the door.  I could feel the pain, anger and discomfort of all of my coworkers as the managers walked from cube to cube picking off the unlucky few.

These were not just made up feelings. In fact they were very real.

Let’s Break Down what is going on with the Heart

The Heart Communicates information with the rest of your body and environment in 4 ways:

  1. The heart has its own complex nervous system. The study of this is called Neuro cardiology. This nervous system functions separate than your autonomic nervous system.
  2. Biophysical communication. Such a your pulse, which creates an energetic wave which communicates to the rest of your body.
  3. It is a hormonal gland. The heart releases Atrial natriuretic peptide, which mediates the release of the stress hormone cortisol and Oxytocin which is the love hormone.
  4. Energetic Communication. The heart radiates a bioelectrical field that creates and electromagnetic field. In fact the hearts electromagnetic field is 30-60x great than the brain. It has been measured 8-10 feet outside of body.
Image from, ATS

Image from, ATS

What Is HRV?

It is simply measuring the time in between beats of your heart. Literally the space in between each heartbeat.

Simple enough… right?

When you are stressed out your HRV looks like a schizophrenic monkey trying to draw a line. When you are in a calm relaxed state, your HRV looks like the rhythmic waves of the ocean.

See examples below.

What does HRV measure?

HRV is a measure of the synchronization of the autonomic nervous system, which is a very important part of our physiology. Measuring this, gives us quantified data about the autonomic nervous system.

Think of your nervous system like an orchestra. When your orchestra (nervous system) is functioning correctly all of the instruments are in sync and sound like angels singing. When your orchestra’s timing is off they sound terrible (Stress Response).

OK Enough… Tell me the Benefits of HRV Training

  • DHEA increases 100% when the brain/heart are coherent. More DHEA = Lowered stress.
  • Transforms your response to stress and quickly rebalance your mind, body and emotions. It shuts down the stress response
  • Increases your ability to think clearer, be more intuitive, and make better decisions, especially under pressure.
  • Improves health, increase resilience and wellbeing. It helps maintain your personal balance.
  • Decreases stress and burnout in chaotic and changing environments.
  • Maximizes creativity and innovation.
  • Boosts performance and overall intelligence.

How to Keep the Haters out

Image from,

Image from, Luke Addison

We all deal with shitty people in our lives.

When people feel chaotic emotions such as anger or fear, these emotions get broadcasted to the environment (uneven HRV). Think of a time you were near someone who was upset or angry. They did not even need to speak or look at you, but you could feel their resentment, fear, frustration or anger.

Once you are able to control your HRV, you are better able to control your brain wave signals and mental capabilities. You can literally deflect someone else’s negative attitude and not let it affect you.

If you have the stronger reality and are more centered. You win. If you are at the mercy of your environment and let everyone who is having a bad day get to you. You Lose.

What does HRV Look Like?

GOOD

My Awesome HRV training session

My Awesome HRV training session. It looks like a SineWave!

 BAD

No Bueno

No Bueno

 

In Closing

You should absolutely start some sort of a mindfulness or meditation practice. Or if you are a massive nerd like me and need quantified data to see your stress response start a HRV training practice.

Personally, I use the EmWave2 biofeedback device. The Heartmath Institute has since updated their lineup of products and I would go with the HeartMath 6400 Inner Balance Sensor for IOS, Black for your iPhone instead. This eliminates the need for another separate device and you can keep all of your data in the cloud.

Click on The picture to see what I use!

If you want to learn more about HRV or the Heartmath Institute. Check out their website.

In the Comments Section

What do you use to reduce or eliminate stress in your life?

If you don’t feel comfortable sharing in public, email me at ben@benaustinblog.com

 

Bonus Vid!!!!

The narrator in the video sounds like he is doing a viagra commercial but there are some cool points that tie all of the concepts together.

Ben-Signature

 

About Ben Austin

My friends call me the illegitimate love child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Nye. I’m a bodybuilding-yogi-science loving-foodie bringing an engineering approach to lifestyle design. Join me as I analyze the systems that go into optimal mental and physical performance and explore the stories and tactics of people who set the standard for the rest of us.

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