To overcome stressors, increase creative solutions, become a more effective leader, and to enter a peak state of performance, we must understand the significant effect the heart has on the brain and the body.

Our knowledge of the heart’s profound influence on the brain and body comes from the field of Neurocardiology – the interplay between the nervous and cardiovascular systems. This area of research has developed rapidly for the last 20-30 years. Much of the research has focused on Heart Rate Variability (HRV), which is the time intervals between one heartbeat and the next heartbeat.

Studying these variations in time between heartbeats begins to illustrate the heart’s influence over the brain and body. When these intervals between each heartbeat become ordered and structured, the heart enters a high coherence state. High coherence is achieved by learning how to manage one’s breathing and by entering into a positive emotional state.

Over the last couple of decades HRV training has been incorporated with business leaders, competitive athletes, police training, managing anxiety, and more. It is a big part of mastering a mindset for success, and often only takes 4-6 weeks of training.

Learning how to enter into a high coherence state essentially means you are in control of your emotional response to stressors. Our physiology is designed to be flexible so that we are able to work through environmental challenges (internally and externally), and a large part of this flexibility is found in HRV. To be able to fully take advantage of the body’s physiological flexibility means cultivating an awareness and practice to support it. This often means our learned and automatic emotional responses can be managed and changed with HRV Biofeedback training.

Most importantly, from the brain’s perspective, when you are able to respond to challenges from a high coherence state, the brain minimises its emotional overdrive. Areas of the brain responsible for initiating the “fight, flight, or freeze” stress response are dimmed. This allows the parts of the brain that are responsible for processing more demanding solution-focused decisions to light up and take control. This is crucial for any situation that demands maintaining emotional stability, focused delivery, and a balanced perspective.

Benefits related to HRV Biofeedback Training:

  • Increased relaxation states
  • Increased productivity
  • Sustained attention
  • General mental flexibility
  • Faster reaction times
  • Behaviour inhibition
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Improved immune function
  • So with some clients I use biofeedback to help them re-train that instinctive response to help them make wiser decisions in the moment.

    Biofeedback is a way to measure the body’s physiological responses in real-time, and a tool to learn to control them. Biofeedback generally relies on machines that measure heart rate variability.

    Most often, biofeedback helps people control their stress response, by realising when it’s underway and employing controlled breathing.

    Many of the benefits of biofeedback simply come from the increased relaxation in your body and the lack of a chronically triggered fight-or-flight response. Because chronic stress can be a trigger for many negative health symptoms, this can offer a significant and palpable improvement in the way people feel and how their bodies function.

    By helping you learn how your body is currently functioning, biofeedback can help you to know what to change. Also, by showing you in ‘real-time’ which relaxation techniques are working and which aren’t, you’re able to more easily grasp effective ways to relax your body’s physiology and incorporate healthier habits into your lifestyle.

    Physiologically, the coherence state is marked by the development of a smooth, sine-wave-like pattern in the heart rate variability trace. This characteristic pattern, called heart rhythm coherence, is the primary indicator of the psychophysiological coherence state, and is what the emWave and Inner Balance technologies measure and quantify. A number of important physiological changes occur during coherence. The two branches of the ANS synchronise with one another, and there is an overall shift in autonomic balance toward increased parasympathetic activity. There is also increased physiological entrainment—a number of different bodily systems synchronise to the rhythm generated by the heart. Finally, there is increased synchronisation between the activity of the heart and brain.

    In this video I discuss two technologies that are highly effective at improving stress and resilience. These are:

    Welltory –

    Heartmath –

    I provide biofeedback training to make best use of these technologies, and you can learn more here:

    For private coaching:

    For corporate training:

    #biofeedback #stress #resilience

    1 Comment

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