October 15, 2020
GUEST BLOG How Stress Impacts Your Body – HRV Testing May Hold The Answers
Written By: Ryre Cornish
In a previous blog post I tried to explain more about Heart Rate Variability, the autonomic nervous system and the way chronic stress impacts your wellbeing.

Everything that happens in your life influences your physical and mental wellbeing and stress can impact everything from mental and physical health to cognitive performance, productivity and the ability to be flexible dealing with life’s challenges. What if there was a way to objectively assess your stress level, the factors that influence it and understand how you can be your best self professionally and personally?

Heart Rate Variability is a non-invasive and objective psychophysiological marker of mental and physical wellbeing, helping you understand and assess how your life’s load impacts your wellbeing and performance. Lower HRV is a warning sign of potential psychological and physiological ill-health whilst “higher HRV has been found to be associated with reduced morbidity and mortality, and improved psychological well-being and quality of life.”

At Firstbeat Technologies UK, we see HRV as “a physiological phenomenon of the variation in the time interval between consecutive heartbeats in milliseconds. A normal, healthy heart does not tick evenly like a metronome, but instead, when looking at the milliseconds between heartbeats, there is constant variation. In general, we are not acutely aware of this variation; it’s not the same as the heart rate (beats per minute) increasing and decreasing as we go about our daily business. You can get a sense of your HRV if you feel your pulse on your wrist while taking a few deep breaths in and out: the interval between beats gets longer (heart rate slows down) when you exhale and shorter (heart rate increases) when you inhale, a phenomenon called respiratory sinus arrhythmia. In addition to respiration, HRV is influenced acutely for example by exercise, hormonal reactions, metabolic processes, cognitive processes, stress and recovery.”

After a 3-day measurement of your heartbeat, you can visualise how chronic stress impacts your body and identify the factors you can influence to take enhance your wellbeing, improve your daily performance, sleep and recovery and prevent ill-health driven by lifestyle choices.

According to World Health Organization “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” At first glance it may be difficult to attain, but don’t get distracted by what you read in the media or what you hear from other people. In 24 hours there are so many things you can do but do you actually understand what supports or hinders your health and performance? How stress management, sleep and exercise impact brain and heart health, emotional regulation, decision-making, cognitive skills, sustained energy and attention? Firstbeat HRV helps you understand what YOU need to do to master chronic stress, take control of your wellbeing and performance based on your own physiology and thrive.

Yours in good health,

Maria Golesteanu
FirstBeat Technologies UK

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