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HRV, Stress and Hypnosis

Colin Campbell
by Colin Campbell on 03/03/19 18:00

heart rate

So, last week when I was at the London Hospital Dental Club, the first speaker was an Osteopath talking about ‘total health’.

One of the things he was discussing was HRV (heart rate variability) I have talked about that on the blog before and I’m quite interested in it, even if, at the present time, I’m not applying the principles of HRV as I should be.

Measuring HRV is not a particularly new thing and has been done by various people, including endurance athletes for some time.

The Osteopath who was discussing things was suggesting various means and measure for HRV and various ways of counting the effects of it but the simplest thing at the moment is to use your Garmin 935 or Fenix watch and just keep it on all the time.

Although this might not be the most accurate way, it’s a very good start and I have now been doing this for 13 months and collating the measurements against subjective feelings and the way that I’m feeling to see whether the stress measurement of the Garmin HRV monitor seems to be accurate and well-adjusted.

Remember that HRV measures biological stress not phycological stress so it’s possible you feel stressed out without showing the biological symptoms (that’s a bit of a winner really)  

It’s also possible that you get both.

As an example, from 2018 my January stress level (I was off work for most of the time) was 32. In January 2019 it was 33 so pretty consistent.

I am 7 less in February than I was last year, although subjectively I find that hard to believe. What was most interesting yesterday was though that I explained this when I stood up to lecture that you could measure your HRV off your Garmin watch and just showed my watch (just a little added extra) but at the end of the day when I was reviewing the stress measurements, there was an hour in the middle which basically suggested I was at complete rest as far as HRV and stress was concerned, certainly from the point of view of my watch.

The rest of the day was mild to moderate stress levels including the travel into London back and forth but the bit in the middle was blue and the lowest part of the graph (lower than sleep)

This was when I was lecturing.

This seems like quite an extraordinary phenomenon really but then as I thought about it more over last night and today, it seems not so.

I can’t remember what I talked about yesterday, not to any large degree, I certainly can’t remember what I said.

I’m lucky then that it was well received and lots of people came and spoke to me afterwards but this has in fact become the way I speak and lecture.

I prepare long and hard, make sure that my slides are exactly what I want and make sure that I’m clear on what I want to do.

Most of the best lectures are the ones I travel to by train because I can review my slides basically an hour or two before the lecture itself and run through them, then I put them on screen and go.

As I suggested in an earlier blog, when I got to London I had elongated my lecture and they wanted me to shorten it again because they were late and so I just went off and started. I’m sure that exactly what I thought I would say in the introduction was not what I thought I would say at all, although I do rehearse my introductions a little bit because it gets me going.

I always told myself though that the lecturing was stressful and heavy emotional labour but it’s not the lecture itself, it’s the lead up and the aftermath that carry an emotional toll. The speaking itself seems to be like hypnosis. I seem to be able to get into a zone where I don’t think about what I’m doing and it just happens.

I do remember various points where I’ve been pulled out of that zone in the middle of a lecture and it has caught me off guard. It must be a little bit like when Federer starts thinking about hitting a tennis ball and realises he can’t hit it anymore.

I am going to keep a lookout on this. I have some speaking coming up in the next few weeks so perhaps I’ll report back for anybody that might be interested.

I think it might be fundamental this and it could affect and change the way that I do things, perhaps it will give me a little bit more confidence in my ability to speak too because sometimes I need some help with that.



Blog Post Number: 1934


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Colin Campbell
Written by Colin Campbell
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