Using biofeedback technology to relieve stress and anxiety
As noted in research studies and on their site, the Institute of HeartMath technology can help:
- Replenish your energy.
- Balance your emotions.
- Quiet an overactive mind.
The HeartMath devices and programs “collect pulse data through a pulse sensor and translates the information from your heart rhythms into graphics on your computer or into easy to follow lights.
HeartMath clinical studies “have dramatically demonstrated the critical link between emotion, heart function and cognitive performance.
“The approach has been published in journals such as the Harvard Business Review, Journal of Innovative Management, The American Journal of Cardiology, Stress Medicine, and Journal of Advancement in Medicine.”
Read more on the site: HeartMath
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Heidi Hanna on using HeartMath for emotional and physical recharging
Heidi Hanna is Executive Director for The American Institute of Stress, a NY Times best selling author, and Founder of Beyond Funny.
She cautions about being too loose or superficial with labels like “panic” or anxiety:
“It seems like many people nowadays are quite willing to share that they’re ‘having a panic attack’, from reality TV moments (Ari on the Bachelor and most of the Kardashians at some point), to media personalities (Dan Harris on GMA or Carson Daly sharing with People magazine) and athletes (thank you Kevin Love).
“Which is great! Helping to reduce the stigma of mental health challenges is a critical part in boosting our ability to provide more people the quality help they need.”
But, she adds:
“We also need to be cautious about how we proceed, as over-generalization and the flippant ways some people throw down the concept that they’re ‘having a panic attack’ can also minimize the severity of what’s going on.
“Non-celebs who are struggling and isolated may feel like what they’re dealing with is different or ‘crazy’ or should be easier to overcome, making their loneliness and anxiety even worse.
“I know, because I silently suffered from panic attacks and other related conditions for the majority of my life, and it’s still something I have to keep a close eye on every day so that they’re not triggered.”
Dr. Hanna identifies herself as a highly sensitive person, and continues:
“People who are highly sensitive to light, noise, crowds and easily pick up other’s emotions may be at higher risk of developing an anxiety or panic disorder, especially when their sensitivity is not appreciated or supported early in childhood.”
Read more in her article Stress, Anxiety, Panic: What’s the Difference and How Can I Cope?
Heidi Hanna presented a Stress Mastery Webinar in January 2018 on “stress sensitivity, anxiety and how to train for better resilience.”
In the hour-long webinar she covered many topics, including how she uses HeartMath biofeedback devices and programs.
The video above is a brief excerpt.
See more about her and other people who use and recommend HeartMath devices in my article How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety When You’re Highly Sensitive.
Creative, high ability people experience stress
Deirdre V. Lovecky, Ph.D. is Director of the Gifted Resource Center of New England and a psychologist who specializes in working with gifted children.
She mentioned in an April 2014 edition of the CGEPNETWORK list (American Psychological Association Center for Gifted Education Policy) that she “often uses HeartMath with anxious children in my clinical practice.”
[Photo: student-test-takers-Spain, from my article Talented People, Stress and ChokIng.]
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video: The Importance of Resilience
One of the main HeartMath products is described by the company :
The emWave Personal Stress Reliever provides a portable and convenient way to reduce stress, balance emotions and increase performance.
This scientifically validated, handheld stress reliever uses colorful LED displays, audio feedback and a powerful stress relief technique to help you significantly reduce your stress and increase your feelings of well-being.
Developed from the Institute of HeartMath’s 18 years of research on the relationship between the heart, brain, stress and emotions, emWave is both innovative and practical.
It enhances your life through it scientifically validated technology, helping you reduce stress and gain a new sense of inner control
The Science Behind the emWave® Technologies
The emWave technologies and the tools and techniques of the HeartMath system are based on over 17 years of scientific research on the psychophysiology of stress, emotions, and the interactions between the heart and brain.
video: HeartMath UK Inner Balance Trainer
Marci Shimoff, “New York Times best-selling author of Happy for No Reason and Chicken Soup for a Woman’s Soul, talks about how she uses the emWave Personal Stress Reliever as a tool to help her connect deeper with people, manage stressful days and enhance her creative processes.”
Jack Canfield offers a testimonial on how a HeartMath device helps him manage stress:
Brain health specialist Daniel Amen comments:
“Too often when people meditate, they actually have no idea how they’re doing. There’s no feedback.
“The beautiful thing about the HeartMath program is it gives you immediate ongoing feedback to know how you’re doing.
“The HeartMath program actually measures where you are and can guide you to a better place scientifically — and that’s the cool part.
“So the plan would be — you have to assess where you are.
“You can’t know what you don’t measure.
“You have to train your brain.. which is really what HRV [heart rate variability] training is all about: It’s soothing the brain; it’s state training; it’s how to get into an optimal state so I can feel and function at my best.”
Daniel Amen, M.D. is a psychiatrist and best-selling author of “Change your Brain, Change Your Life” and host of PBS television programs on brain fitness.
“My emWave has significantly helped me handle and process PTSD from 16 years ago… this is an amazing way to manage anxiety symptoms. I absolutely LOVE mine!” J. O’Bryan
“Love it!!!! I get a reminder every day to check in…. helps me to keep focused and on track to decrease how I react to stress!” S. Schnacky
“Many, if not most, of my patients have physical complaints that stem, ultimately, from stress.
“What I find most helpful about HeartMath’s techniques and technologies is that they provide patients with a way to have more control over their own health and have often been more helpful in lessening the harmful effects of stress than anything else I’ve tried.
“In addition, they’re fun and free from side effects!
“HeartMath is an invaluable part of my practice.” — Wendy Warner, MD, Founder and Medical Director of Medicine in Balance, LLC. Past President of the American Board of Holistic Medicine.
Learn more at the site: HeartMath
The Heart–Brain Connection
Most of us have been taught in school that the heart is constantly responding to “orders” sent by the brain in the form of neural signals.
However, it is not as commonly known that the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart!
Moreover, these heart signals have a significant effect on brain function—influencing emotional processing as well as higher cognitive faculties such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving.
In other words, not only does the heart respond to the brain, but the brain continuously responds to the heart.
The effect of heart activity on brain function has been researched extensively over about the past 40 years. Earlier research mainly examined the effects of heart activity occurring on a very short time scale—over several consecutive heartbeats at maximum.
Scientists at the Institute of HeartMath have extended this body of scientific research by looking at how larger-scale patterns of heart activity affect the brain’s functioning.
HeartMath research has demonstrated that different patterns of heart activity (which accompany different emotional states) have distinct effects on cognitive and emotional function. During stress and negative emotions, when the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered, the corresponding pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain inhibits higher cognitive functions.
This limits our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions.
(This helps explain why we may often act impulsively and unwisely when we’re under stress.)
The heart’s input to the brain during stressful or negative emotions also has a profound effect on the brain’s emotional processes—actually serving to reinforce the emotional experience of stress.
In contrast, the more ordered and stable pattern of the heart’s input to the brain during positive emotional states has the opposite effect—it facilitates cognitive function and reinforces positive feelings and emotional stability.
This means that learning to generate increased heart rhythm coherence, by sustaining positive emotions, not only benefits the entire body, but also profoundly affects how we perceive, think, feel, and perform.
[Excerpted from longer article on the HeartMath site.]
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Review of the emWave2 by DadDoes.Com.
Stanford Offers HeartMath Classes Using Technology for Stress Reduction
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Read more and purchase the emWave Personal Stress Reliever at the HeartMath site.
[You can also purchase HeartMath tools on Amazon.com]