Can learning biofeedback cause stress? For awhile it might, but I think that biofeedback is an excellent tool to have on board for those moments when I switch from eustress to distress, and want to flip back.
In other words, distress is not something I need to experience continually, even in a war zone.
In my house, while we do have economic problems to face, for example, there is no need to fill my body with the kind of adrenalin and cortisol required to fight for my life, run for my life, or freeze.
(Honey Do lists are known to bring on fight or flight chemistry, though).
So if I find myself getting distressed over the lack of follow through by my child in the bathroom pick-up department, I need to find a thought and breathing pattern that will first of all move me back to eustress, the helpful stress that helps me find solutions.
I have tried a number of different tools over the decades, including a number of biofeedback solutions like bio-dots, handwarming, EEG neurofeedback, and Heartmath heart rate variability biofeedback, and the one which has proven to be the most powerful and easy to use has been Heartmath heart rate variability biofeedback for stress.
Probably one of the reasons it is so powerful but easy to learn is that Heartmath is based on some newer discoveries about the heart's own nervous system.
We all know and understand that the heart impacts every cell in our body every time it beats, either electro-magnetically or pneumatically, but no one knew that the heart had a very sophisticated nervous system that operates independently of the brain in our heads.
In fact the heart sends more data to the brain than the brain sends to the heart, and there is enough intelligence in the heart's nervous system that it can learn and make decisions, and that is what makes Heartmath heart rate variability biofeedback such a wonderful biofeedback stress tool.
I first heard about Heartmath heart rate variability for biofeedback stress in a list serve for EEG neurofeedback providers, and because I knew they were a dedicated and committed crew, I decided to check it out, found a hospital nearby where everyone on staff had learned the Heartmath tool, much to the delight of their patients.
Everyone on staff at a large hospital was using the tool and job satisfaction had improved? At a hospital, which is a stressful place to work?
So I went to a workshop there and ended up buying the software, somewhat worried that installing it and learning the process would be stressful, as I am not an intuitive user of computers.
Well, the installation was not hard, and using the tool proved to be a snap, and much to my surprise, I began to be able to generate long periods, up to 20 minutes of heart rate variability coherence which felt wonderful.
However, an effective biofeedback stress tool would not involve carrying a computer with me, so was the tool portable? Could I use it on the run, so to speak?
Absolutely, after six practices, perhaps three hours, I was able to use the Quick Coherence Tool, and my cue thought, and I could feel the change to coherence.
Actually a large part of the training is understanding that the heart's intelligence is affiliative and cooperative, and cuing that intelligence produces a discernible change in feelings, a very pleasant feeling.
In fact, I cue that physiology frequently just because I like to feel good.
So now I am moving away from using the Heartmath heart rate variability biofeedback as a stress reduction tool and in to a proactive health and brain fitness tool.
Brain fitness? Yes, a coherent heart rate variability opens the higher perceptual centers of the brain for good decision making.
I began to teach this tool to my domestic violence guys, and many were amazed to see how quickly, even when sitting quietly, that their thoughts impacted their feelings, and how they were able to manage that physiology by changing thoughts from stressful to gratitude for example.
So I would suggest that Heartmath heart rate variability biofeedback is a wonderful biofeedback stress tool.
Very early in my personal growth experience, a wise person taught me to use the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was resentful or afraid and that phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
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