“Our body doesn’t make a moral judgment about our feelings; it just responds accordingly.”
Doc Childre and Howard Martin in their book The HeartMath Solution.
In addition to simply being more aware of how our body is responding to strong emotions, we can make use of biofeedback technology to deal with anxiety and stress.
In her article Biofeedback For Anxiety and Stress Relief, Audrey Sherman, Ph.D. explains one of the main HeartMath areas of research and training: Heart Rate Variability (HRV):
“This measurement is based on the idea that our emotional state affects our heart rate. What is measured is the subtle beat to beat shifts in heart rate. HRV is thought to be affected by emotions, thoughts and environmental stressors.”
She notes that using a biofeedback device by a therapist, or at home (she refers to a HeartMath device), an “individual shifts to a more positive state, the parasympathetic system kicks in and produces pattern changes to a smooth rhythmic pattern.
“It is believed that positive emotions induce better thinking, which is why we are more creative or find insight into problems when we are not stressed.”
Simply choosing not to worry may help us do that at times, especially if we can be aware of our distorted or unfounded thinking and beliefs that can often fuel anxiety, and then update our thinking.
The HeartMath Institute has conducted and collected many research studies of how the heart interacts with the brain and other parts of the body, and has developed programs and biofeedback devices to reduce psychological distress and improve emotional resiliency.
An article on the HeartMath site notes:
“Stress comes from our perception and emotional reactions to an event or idea.
“It can be any feeling of anxiety, irritation, frustration, or hopelessness, etc.
“Stress is not only created by a response to an external situation or event. A lot of daily stress is created by ongoing attitudes, that is, recurring feelings of agitation, worry, anxiety, anger, judgments, resentment, insecurities and self-doubt.
“These emotions are known to drain emotional energy while engaging in everyday life.”
Here are a couple of their articles and a video to help deal with worry and stress:
The photo above is from this article:
How to Disrupt Worry by HeartMath
“Worry tries to convince the mind that it has some value, but in reality it has never solved anything.
“To disrupt the worry habit you need to not only interrupt it, you need to replace it with something productive to establish a pattern change.
“Practice shifting your attention away from worry by using the Inner-Ease™ Technique.
“Using a heart-focused practice like this is a kind and effective approach to escape the grip of worry. It also helps us align with our heart‘s intelligence so we can gain intuitive insight and answers about the issues concerning us.
“Try this simple technique to get started:
Disrupt Worry with Inner-Ease
“An excellent tool to interrupt worry is HeartMath’s Inner-Ease Technique. Try these steps the next time you feel worry gaining ground.
“Focus your attention in the area of the heart. Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area, breathing a little slower and deeper than usual.
“Suggestion: Inhale 5 seconds, exhale 5 seconds (or whatever rhythm is comfortable).
[See more in the article.]
Practical Intuition and the Heart
Can ‘heart coherence‘ help us transcend stressful circumstances, and experience a deeper sense of wellbeing?
The audio portion of this video is from the free webinar “Navigating Turbulent Times Using Your Heart’s Intelligence” with Howard Martin of HeartMath.
Two of many testimonials for HeartMath research and programs:
“The HeartMath Solution is a celebration of the intelligence of the heart and a practical guide to living it.” — Gary Zukav, author of The Seat of the Soul.
“Nearly every disease or illness I’ve seen or treated in two decades of medical practice could have been improved or even cured had my patients or I known how to access the physical power of our heart’s intelligence.
“HeartMath is the owner’s manual we’ve been waiting for to help us recognize and use our heart’s energy to help heal our bodies and our lives.” — Christiane Northrup , MD, Author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.
“Increasing resilience will amplify the intensity and duration of positive emotional experiences.
“The desire for ease, enthusiasm, and pleasurable life experiences are universal, and will serve you well in dealing with all types of challenges…”
Choose the Right Attitude
“When we start a new day, it is a good practice to take a few moments and get still inside, before the flurry of the day really kicks in.
“Still the mind and focus on the heart. Ask, ‘How would I like my day to go?’
“Then ask, ‘What attitude would help me to align with this intention?’
“Once the attitude is in focus, and we’re really feeling it, breathe that feeling associated with the intended attitude for a couple minutes.
“Carry this attitude throughout the day. When possible, take a brief break to refresh the intention and the attitude.”
[Read more in the article.]
Some related articles:
Articles on relieving anxiety and stress
Many different psychologists, therapists and other writers provide information on how stress and anxiety develop, and how to manage your emotional health.