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Archive for March, 2015

HR 2

A while back I bought a heart rate monitor. I wanted to see if there was any correlation between the physiological response that one has when feeling anxious and heart rate elevation. I was excited to have a possible tool that would help those with anxiety self-regulate. In my case, it turned out that the correlation was not very strong. On several occasions over a period of months, I strapped myself up when feeling uneasy or anxious and saw heart rates similar to that of a Yogi. The heart rate clearly did not match the feeling I was having and was therefore a poor tool for detection.

I was bummed, because I felt like this would’ve been a great tool to help others (especially the kids I work with who were not so aware of the cues their bodies often send) have a way to self-monitor anxiety. Imagine an alarm going off on your wrist that tells you, take a break, with concrete numerical data (not parents or teachers) to back it up.

Instead of giving up, I tried something else. I began testing what it would be like if I matched my heart rate to my feeling. For example, if I was feeling anxious, I’d sprint or climb stairs rapidly in order to get my heart rate up. If I could do this, maybe I could then control/bring the heart rate back down, and in doing so find a sense of self-regulation (taking back control of my body’s ascending and descending heart rate). A feeling of control is what is often lost when anxious thoughts and feelings arise.
This is still an experiment in progress but it seems to have some legs. I’ve noticed that by increasing my heart rate to fit my level of anxiety or nervousness, I am then forced to sit back, breath deeply, and let my heart, my lungs, and my muscles come back down to regulation.

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