Our bodies are really good at responding to stressful situations.
If you’re suddenly being chased by a lion, a whole hormonal cascade kicks in that increases blood flow to your extremities (so you can run), increases your mental focus, increases breathing, slows digestion, decreases hunger (food can wait), and decreases libido (that can wait, too).
Although the stresses most of us experience today are different from being chased by a lion, our bodies respond with the same hormonal cascade.
Work stress, financial challenges, interpersonal problems, busy schedules, overflowing email inboxes, errands… Plus physiological stresses from eating an inflammatory diet, getting too little sleep, and chronic illness. They all conspire to leave us in a near constant state of stress.
The problem is that the hormones—including cortisol—that are so effective at helping you flee from a lion are also affected by today’s chronic, modern stresses. And since our bodies aren’t very good at dealing with constant stress, problems arise.
One of those problems is a change to our central nervous system (specifically, the sympathetic nervous system) that leaves us stuck in fight-or-flight mode and with chronically elevated cortisol levels. Eventually, your adrenal glands—which produce cortisol—can get too overworked, and you can end up with low cortisol. But here I’m talking about the more typical condition of chronic stress and elevated cortisol.
Here’s the kicker: chronically elevated cortisol increases appetite for comfort foods and it promotes storage of body fat.
Did that get your attention? Well, here’s where it gets really interesting.
There’s a two-way window into your sympathetic nervous system that allows you to not only measure your state of stress, but to improve it so you can get your cortisol levels (and your inner cookie monster) under control.
It’s called Heart Rate Variability (HRV).
What Is Heart Rate Variability?
Heart rate variability accounts for the difference in time intervals between heartbeats. A healthy heart has healthy irregular beats.
Before we go any further, let’s make one thing clear: HRV and heart rate are NOT the same thing.
So, what’s the difference?
If your resting heart rate is 60 beats per minute (BPM), that doesn’t necessarily mean your heart beats once per second. Your heart doesn’t work like a metronome. There are variations from beat to beat. It’s the changes between beats—not changes in your heart rate—that are defined by HRV. And those variations can be a useful guide to identify and address many health related issues and side effects of stress.
A high HRV means there are a lot of tiny fluctuations in the time between beats. And that’s a good thing, because it means you’re more resilient—at least at that moment in time, since HRV is constantly changing. In fact, your HRV improves when experiencing positive emotions, such as gratitude, and it declines when you experience stress, anger, and other negative emotions.
According to behavioral psychologist and CEO of HeartMath Deborah Rozman, Ph.D., “Emotions have a measurable effect on the body that can influence health, wellness and fitness. Our inner fitness and emotional resilience is equally important as physical fitness.”
So, if feelings of gratitude can raise your HRV, does that mean you can reduce stress and cortisol production by being grateful?
And that’s where HRV training comes in.
HRV Training: How It Works (and the Science Behind It)
Like we mentioned before, HRV is not about the differences in heart rate from one state to another. It’s the variability that occurs from one beat to another. And, HRV training is one of the main ways you can actively recover from stress.
Think of it like biofeedback for your emotions.
Here’s how it works:
From an early age, we’re taught that our brains send signals to the rest of our body, and those signals determine functioning. What’s less well known is that the heart actually sends signals back—even more signals than the brain sends to the heart!
HeartMath research demonstrates that these heart signals and different patterns of heart activity have tremendous effects on our emotions, attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving. In the same way, stress can affect heart rate variability, which may be slowing your metabolism and making it more difficult to lose weight.
HRV coherence training is all about learning to generate a more efficient physiological state, known as HRV coherence, which has been shown to reduce and prevent negative side effects of stress on metabolism.
Sustaining positive emotions not only benefits the entire body (from balancing stress hormones to helping you burn more fat), but it also profoundly affects how you think, feel and perform.
The good news is that HRV coherence training is made easy with Inner Balance.
Counteract Stress in Just 3–5 Minutes/Day with Inner Balance HRV Training [Review]
Inner Balance is an HRV tracker that can help you neutralize stress and take charge of how you feel.
The biofeedback tool teaches you how to rebalance your emotions in the moment when you need it. With practice, you can feel calmer, more composed and focused. And that contributes to a healthy HRV and improved metabolism.
How does it work?
Inner Balance uses heart rhythm feedback to analyze your HRV patterns and give simple prompts to balance your emotions. In this way, HRV training teaches you how to maintain an optimal physiological state, or HRV coherence, which fosters positive emotions and eliminates many of the side-effects of stress.
The biofeedback tool also tracks your progress over time. Knowing your baseline HRV and variations helps determine what a healthy HRV looks like for you.
For the program to be successful, you only need to complete one 3–5-minute session every day. That means you don’t need to wear the Sensor all day or have it on all the time. Simply plug the sensor into your iPhone, iPad, or Android device, connect the ear piece, and tap in the breath pacer to start your session.
Why use Inner Balance?
The Inner Balance system is designed by HeartMath—a pioneering brand in HRV research backed by decades of scientific research and over 300 peer reviewed studies. It comes with the approval of thousands of health professionals, and their products are used by hundreds of hospitals, schools, corporations and humanitarian organizations.
The device is not only one of the most accurate and widely used on the market, but it’s also affordable and incredibly user friendly.
The Inner Balance biofeedback sensor is offered in two different forms. If you have iPhone or Android, you can purchase the Inner Balance Bluetooth Sensor for $159. Or iPhone and iPad owners also have the option to purchase the Inner Balance Lightning Sensor for $129.
The only difference between the two sensors is the way they connect to your device. Both connect to the same great Inner Balance system and provide the same detailed HRV training.
So, what do you get with Inner Balance?
- real-time HRV feedback
- valuable stress relief techniques
- real-time coaching tips
- advanced options
- and free additional resources for tracking progress over time
The device and HRV training system also come with a 60-day money back guarantee and a 1-year technology warranty, so you can try the program with no risk!
If you’re interested in gaining more control over your response to stress and boosting your metabolism, it’s something to consider.
It’s Never Been Easier to Improve Your Mood (and Heart Health)
There are so many benefits of HRV training—from improving your mood to regulating metabolism, boosting energy, and increasing focus.
And it starts with just 3–5 minutes a day. That’s something we can all do!