Stress, Resilience, Heart Rate Variability and the Polyvagal Theory: Guest podcast with Cath Knibbs of CyberSynapse

Stress, Resilience, Heart Rate Variability and the Polyvagal Theory: Guest podcast with Cath Knibbs of CyberSynapse

I was delighted to be invited on to Cath Knibb’s podcast Cyber Synapse last week. We talked about a wide array of topics including stress, trauma, heart rate variability, Heartmath, and how biofeedback can help children learn to regulate their stress and anxiety. You can watch it here or on the Cyber Synapse youtube channel.

Transcript

Cath (Intro)

Welcome to cyber signups the podcast is creating connections through candid conversations about cyber issues sponsored by agency with your host gasps nips welcome to this episode this week

I’m joined by Matt Hatson of NEXUS8 and we discuss something called heart rate variability so to give you a quick introduction we bring something called the polyvagal theory into conversation today and I’m sure for those of you that have been listening welcome to this week’s episode wouldn’t that I’ve been hoping to bring for some time I just needed the right person to talk to at the right time and hey presto manage to synchronize our diaries and managed to have this conversation right now.

So I’m bringing a theory called the polyvagal theory to you today and something around heart rate variability so if you just had a quick scan of the show notes it will show that we’re talking about resilience, breathing, the autonomic nervous system, stress how to recover from being in burnout. This is something that I use in my psychotherapy, practice and when I started some sign ups this was what I actually did I sent out a small video to some colleagues and said what do you think about  hat I’m doing in terms of trauma and I’m using something called the biopsychosocial model and this is the biological side of it so we chatted about the polyvagal theory which was so that the person responsible for the paper that there is Stephen Porges and he’s one of my if you like innovative but yeah inverted commas superheroes I’ve had the privilege of spending a few days actually on a training course with him and I I kind of used this theory to apply it to look to lots of things and we’ve made it as simple as possible today so that this is biohacking part two there’s going to be three four five six seven eight and and I mentioned today in the conversation that we have around the Oura ring and we’re going to get to that hopefully on another episode because I’m now starting to bring together and hopefully synthesize for you in terms of the cyber based issues why I have different approaches and where I use different things to quickly go through the I’m going to call it a sales pitch because it is exactly that head on over to cybersynapse.co.uk and sign up to basically pay me some money so there’s a service that you can donate to pound a dollar wherever you’re listening from and I’ve got two levels where you can have reflections and that will be after a conversation I will have a bit of a reflection back and this is only for subscribers the second level I will actually have in-depth conversations with you almost like a one-to-one coaching session sitting talking with you and going through the polyvagal theory in depth so that you could get you could get a really deep understanding where I’m coming from and you know this actually taps into my time so I refrain from doing this because I didn’t want to be the same old same old salesperson I dislike this but I am giving up a lot of my time to commit to these podcasts and that includes having to email people  synchronized Diaries quite often that taps into my self-care timescales which means I then have to reinvent what I’m doing and in terms of what I do for a job um my self-care routine is extremely important so this is a way that I could possibly bring somebody else in to do the editing so this episode goes out on a Bank Holiday Monday I was working over the weekend in terms of editing I have to do like last-minute edits so this will be done probably up until the late yeah like Sunday maybe even in the early hours of Monday morning so that when this podcast comes out it’s ripe and ready for everybody to listen to it would be nice to be able to employ a person who likes to do this kind of technical thing and to actually have them help me produce better quality and I can’t do that for free um so the way that I’ve set this up is the account over you can donate as little or as much as you want and that’s basically the place you can become my super fan and that’s where I’ll start putting some more material but obviously it’s only for patreon subscribers I hope you enjoy the episode today it’s really again one of my favourites I’m having a I’m having a blast doing this podcast in terms of the conversations I’m now getting to have and to bring to the problem um have a great week for those in the UK listening to this Bank Holiday Monday have a great time see you soon.

Cath

Welcome to CyberSynapse this week I’m joined by Matt Hatson and he’s a Resilience Trainer and Coach and he’s also a Heartmath coach. Now for the listeners and viewers I’m going to come on to that in just a moment and by now I will have done a synopsis in the introduction so you might be aware of some of the terms we’re going to be using today um so first of all Matt why do you do what you do as a Resilience and a Trainer and coach?

Matt

I guess that goes back probably around 10 years I was always been in the corporate world and I was a strategy director for a large engineering company having a great time I was travelling around the world I was doing all these big projects loving it I’m an engineer by background and I was working some really long hours you know which was quite normal but I was loving it.

I was doing absolutely fine until my youngest child Thomas developed a lung issue and just overnight stopped sleeping couldn’t sleep just coughed all night and so I went from doing this to suddenly having to find a way to get away with two hours sleep a night and that had a profound impact you know I was commuting for five hours a day I was starting my meetings at 5:00 a.m. to talk to Australia I was finishing them at 9:00 a.m. 9:00 p.m. into Canada getting two hours sleep because I was trying to look after the family whilst the doctors try to work out what was wrong with my son and that went on for two years. So I should still thought I was doing fine you know I was “manning up” I was digging deep and all that good stuff and so people started good you know friends started to say to me what’s happened to you you’re a ghost of yourself and actually it made me realize that no I wasn’t doing fine I just I just thought I was so being an engineer a real geek I started looking at what I could do to kind of maintain my sanity during that time and I tried all sorts of things you know yoga, meditation, different types of meditation, Qigong lots of different therapies. I read loads of different books because I was up all night so I had lots of time to read and also biofeedback lots of different types of biofeedback of which I found Heartmath actually one of the most effective ones and so my son’s fine now they worked out what it was and he sleeps and he’s very cheeky and happy lad but eventually I realized that I was enjoying helping people with their resilience more than I was doing the engineering stuff, so I got to a point where I said you know what it’s time for me to do that because I think I can make a bigger difference and it gives me an excuse to get paid to research it even further yeah and get paid to be a geek.

Cath

We’re on the same wavelength as you already met with that but I mean we’ve spoken about that before so obviously one of the previous episodes I did with people actually talked about sleep and hacking sleep so a few of the listeners and viewers might know that I’m a biohacker um so one of the reasons I’ve brought you on today Matt is because for it for a number of years I’ve been using Heartmath with the children that I work with in therapy I do use it with adults as well but I’m just gonna focus about children for a second so I went out and I got this Heartmath software because it enables me to work with the children who are traumatized who have lots of issues such as anxiety so what you’re what you’re effectively working with in the adult world I’m working with my children and the software I got on my PC and it allows the children to play games including one where they get to be on a jet ski and it’s through the breathing and this heart rate variability which we’re going to talk about in just a minute it enables them to actually get in touch with what’s happening inside their body and become masters of their own biology a bit like you’re talking about so would you like to give a definition explanation for the readers readers they’re not reading this they’re listening and viewing that’s the other side of my life so if you want to give a little bit of an explanation so that people can understand what this Heart Rate Variability is all about okay?

Matt

I think so I think where we start is just a little bit around the nervous system and how heart rate  variability is an indicator of that so sitting in the background to all of our major organs and all of the things that are happening in our body that affect our thinking and our behavior is our autonomic nervous system which has evolved over millions and millions of years back from lizard times to us at the pinnacle of our evolution right now and there’s there’s three main components to that.

The oldest one being our ability to immobilize to be still so if you look at lizards they spend vast majority of their time absolutely still because if they don’t they get eaten and then as the animals have evolved that has evolved to help us to be immobilized at the point of which we’re being eaten so it doesn’t hurt so much to be eaten. Which yeah I think is a great thing. And then you’ve got the counter to that which is often which is called the sympathetic nervous system but I call it the mobilization system fight-or-flight it’s called which is our ability to snap into action which is a predatorial skill but also to be able to evade and so the two the two systems are there to keep us alive.

And sitting  within that is our abilities our neuroception, our ability to sense danger and it’s not a conscious level our body just prepares ourselves to be immobilized or prepares ourselves to fight fight and flight and it moves energy and oxygen around in the body to manage that. In humans and social animals there’s another system, the social engagement system which sits above all of that and this part of the fundamental part of the vagus nerve which I kind of see as kind of the master management system between those two systems and focuses on our ability to connect and be part of a community. It’s in our facial muscles but it also innovates our heart and our lungs and has a fundamental impact on our ability to regulate our energy. It’s a absolutely key part when I’m working with people with stress often it’s that part of their system which has started to get disconnected you can kind of see it in their faces, you can hear in the voice because the vagus nerve innervates through the lungs and the heart it has the impact to actually control our ability to recover from those extreme situations

So the the heart rate variability is actually an is an underlying measure of how our heart how our system has the capacity to respond from stressful events yeah most people don’t realize that the heart doesn’t beat regularly if you’re really relaxed first thing in the morning, it beats irregularly on demand from the organs and the muscles and all those parts. That’s a bit of a shock to most people they think it’s very hard on obviously if you’re on a treadmill, it is extremely regular or actually if you’re under extreme stress like giving a presentation to 500 people will look a lot like the heart rate of somebody on a treadmill yeah and so the heart rate variability actually uses statistical analysis to look at the irregularity of the heart rate but actually follows if you’re not really aware of your state you’re not managing your state it’s all over the place it’s up and down in it quite annoying and but it is a measure of your body’s capacity to handle more stress and kind of how much energy you’ve got as well you know different algorithms also many measure kind of how well-rested you are as well they use that a lot in in athletics.

And so it’s I think it was originally developed by NASA they used it for monitoring astronauts when they are out on out in their suits and then more recently it became something that was fundamental to professional sports and professional athletes use it. I’ve been using it for over 10 years I think and there’s some great documentaries and things on YouTube about how the professional coaches can spot a small injury or one of them athletes coming down with a cold two weeks before the athlete actually consciously is aware that they’ve got a problem and so it  allows them to really fine-tune the  recovery cycle that professional athlete so that they don’t get progress to the point where they have a major injury yeah and now of course it’s available in consumer products. Heartmath have had it in a product for guess over ten years now I guess from the original emwave device.

Cath

Yeah well I was gonna try and turn it on for this podcast I was saying that I’ve actually got the original EM wave because I I came across this when so what what people don’t know is you’ve literally explained the polyvagal theory to them so but this is my this is my favourite theory and it was because of trying to understand what was happening with the heart and so on and so forth breathing I went off looking for some software looking for something because I’m a geek and I wanted to use technology to engage children and that was that was how I ended up if you like and that’s how I came across Rolin McCraty stuff for Heartmath and it’s very very geeky it’s very very science-based and I took a look at it and said okay right this looks like the kind of software I could use with a child and I don’t need to explain what’s happening in in any of the autonomic nervous system. With the children it’s pretty simple that the program in terms of it’s got three bars to begin with they’re either in the red zone the blue zone or the green zone yeah and obviously you show a child a game they want to be in the green zone so they say how do I get in the green zone and then what we do is we look at the breathing mandala and we say okay you need to breathe like this and then what I do is I sit with the children and work out what’s their best breathing rate and from there I’ve gone on to notice that you can now get it as apps on your phone I’ve actually got the inner balance which is the one that you can use with an iPhone I’ve also got another version but you can literally get hold of the heart rate variability apps now to have on your phone in terms of I wear a wristband that measures it for one particular app I use the Bluetooth earpiece for another app because they all measure in very different ways in some of them and now starting to feedback from the apps that they’re not as accurate as other forms of measurements I’m just thinking about how it’s gone from being something that was you know incredibly expensive when I first bought it for the computer to something that’s now I don’t know forty pound maybe.

Matt

I use I use two types of heart rate variability I do a lot of training with corporates but I also do rescue coaching with executives you know people gone into burnout maybe brown out will burn out they’re not performing or they’re disengaged and I use two types of HIV tech with them.

I use an app called Welltory, it’s a free app at the basic level I recommend. Most people don’t need (the paid one) unless they are really into they do a lot of measurements of themselves they don’t need to pay. it uses the camera and the flash on the phone and it takes a pretty accurate HRV and I recommend people do that first thing in the morning before they get up yeah and it gives them two things it gives them a stress level and an energy level and the principle for that for me is that people who are stressed and I am generalizing but it’s I’d say 99% of the time this is true they become disconnected from their interoception; they don’t know how they feel.

Cath

Yes absolutely.

Matt

And so getting them to measure it every morning gets into it two things one they start to question how they feel and it starts to get them to check-in so I do two things I say right scan yourself first thing in the morning yeah and then just decide how well you agree with it and over time I want them to you know it starts off with this and then a few weeks later it’s like yeah you know what perhaps are not actually is as well as you know, as full of energy as I thought I was so I use that one as a way of developing getting them to get back in touch with them how they feel and manage their own energy because ultimately I want them to manage their energy.

The other thing is then I use Heartmath to get them to just stop but predominantly to teach them the techniques and to buy into the feeling of the technique so that they can apply it on demand so to get them to the point where they have the ability to go meta aware on their own state and say “I’m not in the right place to do this presentation right now” or this this person is a mood hoover that’s a term that I learned from a Client,

Cath

I love it

Matt

This person is a “Mood Hoover” and if I don’t protect myself you know I don’t get myself into a right state that person is going to ruin my day yep and that’s resilience is for me is getting people to drive their own bus and manage their own energy and be able to plan for those situations so that they get home at the end of the day they’ve got energy to spend with their kids and their loved ones and they’re not just staring in front of the TV thinking that that’s rest.

Cath

Yeah I have some of the terms I’ve got our emotional vampire yeah yeah um yeah in terms of um so I’m just going to talk like a trauma therapist for a second lots and lots of people who are traumatized and stress is a version of trauma you know because it starts stress all the way through to huge trauma um actually we talk in psychotherapy about people being dead from the neck down ie they’re all in the head and they’ve absolutely disconnected from their body so it’s I will I will suggest the clients that they get back in their body and they look at me they’ve gone out sometimes and I say what you’ve got to do is notice what’s going on anybody can you even tell when your heart is beating are you able to pick up on these signs now some children go the opposite way where they’re hyper sensitive to everything that’s happening within their body so it’s about saying okay so you need to disconnect a little bit more and trust your body’s intuition versus those that need to get back into the body but this is that I see that’s the two extremes that happens for a lot of people.

Matt

That’s really interesting the hypersensitive, is that is that related to is that the sort of amygdala on high alert and yeah?

Cath

Yeah it’s it’s for me it’s definitely in line with at the Window of Tolerance which is where they’re either hyper and it might be hypersensitive hyper alert hyperactive hyper whatever it is at that end this is the ones who become disconnected which is hypo so I tend to say to people you know do you notice what you tummy feels like do you notice if you’ve got what kind of heartbeat you’ve got whether it’s quite a strong one yeah so I suppose anxious people would pick up on their heart rate and their breathing a lot more of them so I’m just thinking now applying it to all different kinds of stresses yeah yeah.

Matt

Yeah you know I think one of the side effects I see of people who do Heartmath is they do become aware of their heartbeat yeah it’s a regular thing people come back to me this you know freaks people out when they first start experiencing it it’s like it’s okay it’s good to know that you’re alive and you can bear that in mind because then when you do find yourself in a situation where you’re getting a bit stressed or anxious it’s just outside of your conscious awareness and you hear your heart beats fast faster and it’s then a good trigger to say okay now’s a good time to do some breathing you know you’re getting people to understand that the importance of what the in-breath and out-breath do that suddenly you’ve got this ability to change how you feel and understand you know the Mercedes Model will understand that thoughts affect emotions affect physiology and affect thoughts and the quickest way to change your thoughts is to change your physiology and the quickest way to change your physiology is to change your breathing.

You’ve got the ability to self-regulate whereas previously they didn’t.

Cath

Yeah I am going to I am going to say actually if people want to have a bit of an understanding about this Alan Watkins did a TED talk on this with physiology being at the bottom and and um it’s it’s quite quite interesting but also it’s because of Alan Watkins that I use one of the other kinds of software which I was going to talk about um so actually do we want to talk about I’m just thinking when we talked about the heart beating irregularly that’s I mean that’s basically because of how acceptable it’s got sucking in chambers and pushing out chambers you know and it and they’re not all connected in the same way some of them are bigger than others and I’m just thinking about explaining it to clients about so I normally say to them have you ever watched Casualty you know and it’s got the little beep beep yeah yeah it’s not as regular as that so what what we’re talking about in heart rate variability is the gaps in between you know the distances how they vary yeah yeah simply as we can put it isn’t it so yeah do you want to explain about so what happens?

Matt

When we breathe in what happens when we breathe out how that changes those or that variability and then how we can see health and resilience I suppose yeah okay so there’s two the two main sides of the autonomic nervous system is the sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic raises heart rate and blood pressure and is there is really engaged when you’re on a treadmill playing sport or giving a presentation or getting really cross with someone and the parasympathetic does the opposite if they also have a different configuration of where they send blood and oxygen okay they have different reaction on prioritization on bodily organs as well so but they’re not you’re not some people have read a little bit on the internet and think I’m in sympathetic or in parasympathetic now. Well if you’re just one you’re dead, there’s a constant ebb and flow between them in a healthy well-rested person as they breathe in blood pressure goes up heart rate increases the sympathetic system is becomes act more active. And as they breathe out the parasympathetic kicks in blood pressure drops heart rate drops and so actually if you plot heart rate by the time that it goes up and down as the person breathes and so if your breathing is most people don’t breathe optimally. So in different situations how they feel affects how their breathing. People that are a bit a bit stressed they’ll breathe they’ll have a lopsided towards a sympathetic side you know they’ll have a bigger in-breath quick out-breath or the other way around and so yeah it’s a constant ebb and flow and you can kind of get a good feel from you can calibrate where somebody is by looking at their breathing pattern.

Cath

Yeah I’m wondering how many people that are currently listening to this have actually just paid attention to their own breathing yeah it is it is something that whenever I start to talk about this to clients I notice I can’t breathe out yeah there is there is a huge, we don’t pay attention to it it’s it’s something that just sits in the background isn’t it because I mean that’s where the phrase autonomic comes from but there is something around when you ask somebody to pay attention to their breathing they actually change how they breathe yeah when it changes at night 12:19 right yeah I nearly did the observer observable universe and the split the split atom experiment then I’m gonna stay away from that because that’s so engineering a geeky and so what yeah so what does happen is people pay attention to their breathing and then what they do is they breathe in a very different way so sometimes I might I might say to them breathe out in in the middle of a sentence because I tend to watch what people are doing with their bodies and they said what do you mean breathe out because trauma stress anxiety seems to be forget to go and breathe out so it’s all about actually getting people to do the opposite of what they think they need to do so quite often it’s they don’t pay attention to their breathing because they’ve never been taught how to pay attention to their breathing

Matt

Yeah so I find that that’s one of the most interesting parts in terms of working with clients is speaking to them about their breathing well we even do any kind of heart rate variability store for conversations around that yeah and I teach people balance breathing right early on one it makes coaching a lot easier because it encourages social engagement sides so you’ve got somebody who’s stressed and they’re not communicating very well and maybe shutting themselves away from people but somehow you’ve managed to get them to sit if you to do some coaching getting them to balance breathe and to balance the nervous system to engage social engagement you’ll get into a much more productive discussion. Than if if I if I let them just stay in their state because you know if they really stressed and they probably shut their ears down because if you’re in a fight or flight situation actually ears aren’t that useful, neither’s talking.

Cath

I was going to say and that’s where that’s where the talk that’s where all of the shoulder shrugging comes from with clients when they’re doing they don’t know it’s kind of ah actually they don’t know they don’t know because they’re not in that state to be able to access anything because the brain has gone into this this place where it just says I need to just disengage yeah.

Yeah so I was thinking about um something that you said earlier so I’ve kind of gone off on a bit of a tangent so they’re resting well okay so I’ve recently been introduced to a term active recovery yeah this is more so for when people say and yeah but I I do this or I do that I said when do you have an active recovery time so I might expect a client that might mean going for a walk I’m not talking about being on a treadmill and stressing  you know stressing your heart making it pump really fast but  enough to go for a walk and obviously I know some of the benefits are going for a walk because it improves BDNF which is how full chemical in the brain that was the brain to continue talking to itself but also that’s the bit that helps them get out of their their own head into their body you know and it’s yes do you do you go for a massage do you go for this do you do that do you did the other yeah yeah I’m just thinking what kind of advice do you give to people for their resilience for the active recovery all resting well or whatever whatever kind of phrase it was?

Matt

So I do I use active recovery yep it’s that’s the kind of professional sports term and I do that because I want people to understand that if they’ve had a really stressful, time active recovery probably isn’t sitting in front of the TV drinking copious glasses of wine or beer or something like that. Actually that is it you know alcohol is s a stimulant sorry a depressant it’s not gonna get you back into that well-balanced state that actually you need to be looking at.

I say aim to have your batteries fully to be charged every morning which is why I get people to check the HRV before they do anything else yeah because it gives them an idea of just how much energy they can bring to the day you know I’m not I don’t believe in time management I believe in energy management. My HRV will tell me how much I’ve got and I want to decide how I’m going to spend it because anything I’d do that day I want to knock it out of the park.

So I talk about active active recovery and also get people to understand that you know I deal with a lot of kind of Type-A personalities people who they go to work they want to knock it out the park they’re ambitious, they’ve got to climb that career ladder and then they come home they’re still Type-A personalities so they go and do CrossFit after a 12-hour day and a commute and then they wonder why they’re starting to feel sluggish. It’s because your adrenals are shot and actually to understand you know what you can’t do that because you have a finite battery so I do encourage them to look at numerous different things you know one thing that Heartmath is very good active recovery.

literally some of the more advanced techniques that we teach people around around focus and compassion is really it’s very really very good for not just the HRV but also the cortisol DHEA balance which you get from the visualization that you don’t get from just pure balanced breathing

Cath

Absolutely and that’s um I’m just trying to think of the term that Roland’s he had when when I was at a conference last year with him and he was talking about how one of the one of the slides that he brought up was actually how he’d got his son to become coherent but then also to offer compassion and empathy towards the dog who also you know this is definitely geeky text isn’t it where we start stopping our family and it was up he’d actually strapped the animal up to a heartrate monitor and his son and when the son was told don’t touch the dog just sit and send out you know the positive vibes from the heart and actually what happens was the dog became coherent.

I saw something last year at Burning Man where they had a big heart mass created I don’t know like a light show in the middle in the middle and they had people sitting around and the more coherent they became more this light show little and it was absolutely wonderful to watch um so there’s something about yeah the resonance frequencies that we get so this might be going slightly off tangent now but the resonance frequencies that we get when we are coherent pretty much much the same as the universe so it’s that’s where this naught point 1 Hertz comes from for those of those of you who are really really interested but also I’m aware from Allen Watkins research not everybody resonates at that particular frequency there may be slightly slightly off depending on maybe their biology but there is something around the yeah compassion breathing the connectedness and this appears in quite a lot of other areas doesn’t it so I’m just thinking her energy worlds

Matt

Yeah you know being an engineer and a positivist I was always very dubious about this until I really started to get my head into the polyvagal theory yeah and when you understand that actually we are social animals and therefore to spend time focusing on the social aspect and giving and supporting other people it entirely makes sense why that has a positive biological impact.

You know a lot people I work with when they get really stressed actually they have a tendency to shut themselves away “I’ve had a busy week I don’t want to go out and see my , I don’t wanna spend any time with friends and loved ones”. I don’t quite understand why we’ve evolved to do that it doesn’t seem to make much sense because actually the real thing we want is the complete opposite is “I am I have had a stressful week the best thing I can do for my biology is go and spend some time with people I really like”

Cath

Yeah well that’s going to definitely be one of the contents of a further podcast where I’m talking about why people are now reaching out to do that via social media and places like that because actually as much as they do withdraw there is this need and it is a biological need to connect and I was just thinking you’re talking then about some of the terms of so this is definitely in my my arena if there’s psychotherapy we have not only are we altruistic but we have what’s called a low parenting which is we’re quite happy to support our species by looking after other people’s children and that creates the same kind of connection and obviously hunter-gatherer tribes have a lot of this armour and we seem to be more disconnected from this in the Western society at the moment so yeah

Matt

Yeah it’s interesting the end the other thing that I wonder about because of our we’re biologically wired to be face to face with people is whether and I’m sure you’ve got experts that know this better than me because I’m still wondering it is whether we feel that need to socially connect so we use  social media doesn’t give us the it’s not active recovery it doesn’t give us the same biological impact to text your mate and say are you alright how’s things to actually go into the pub with them and having a pint, you know having a chat I don’t know firstly I don’t think they’re the same thing but I don’t have that science to back that up.

Cath

Yeah well I’m gonna give you a bit of a spoiler here that’s actually what’s in my book although it’s nowhere near finished yeah I’m still doing this but this is essentially what I’m tapping into and obviously I’ve done the article on medium which talks about the polyvagal portrait portal to the matrix and I was actually talking about how it’s not quite the same because it creates this this false safety and it’s that false safety that puts us into a place where we think we’re communicating in the same way but we’re not because I nervous systems are not wired for it.

It has no idea what’s going on all because the normal life indicators so I think I covered this the other week with Justin there isn’t the same kind of feedback to our nervous system which actually I mean your neuoreception works on a level that’s based in a world where there’s a magnetic force magnetic field where there’s energy fields where there’s actual eye to eye contact there’s a lot of information that our brains take in to make sense of and our bodies and if you’re going into a virtual world lots of that is missing and I think that’s that’s what I’m trying to explain this is why it’s so very different but it’s also not quite the same.

Oh I do like that question that wondering and I am trying to find the science behind it because at the moment that we just don’t have enough there’s a lot about why we do and there’s what they call the online disinhibition effect which is um something about why we behave in cyberspace as we do but I think it’s very complicated than disinhibition I think there’s no that goes on.

Matt

Yeah I mean it’s interesting you think with the the rise in home working that people who are were home-based most of the time you know with stressful job stressful lives, as we’ve all got I’m not getting any of that recovery effect of having a good laugh in the office that you have at lunch you know lunchtime or just the desk and I’m gonna just having a catch-up yeah you don’t get any of that and so that’s a different kind of that’s a new kind of loneliness I think that is gonna have an impact on people’s ability to be productive and yet you know in a shrinking physical office environment there’s more and more people working from working from home and having to find a way to manage the same level of stress they experienced when they worked in an office maybe without the commute yeah but don’t have anyone you know to chat to.

Cath

Absolutely and yeah and I suspect the cost of where although it’s not active recovery the alcohol part actually the cost of going out to socialize has become so large nowadays that actually people don’t go out for meals they don’t go out to the pub they don’t go out to youth clubs they don’t go out and I think that’s also kind of the other side of the coin is that to socialise which is a normal biological function we have to pay an enormous amount of money to do so so generally people will opt out therefore becoming isolated and you know I’m just going to tap into the research at the moment that’s showing that loneliness is the biggest killer. It’s not obesity it’s not heart disease it’s loneliness because loneliness creates all of this biological stress and I think that’s what happens for older people is their heart rate variability and resilience gets less and less and less their isolation their stress increases and that’s what loneliness does.

Wow yeah wow that was a was a bit of a slight rant I don’t know don’t want to end on that one no that’s but let’s get back in a balance place.

You know we’ve got to find we’ve got to find ways as a society to deal with it yeah okay so what I thought I’d do very quickly for those that are watching on YouTube and for those that listening on the podcast if you go to youtube you’ll be able to see this on CyberSynapse there I’m actually just showing this is one version of how heart rate variability is measured okay so it would click on to a jumper either side onto my ear and that would actually transmit via bluetooth to my phone my iPad my laptop whatever it is that I put it into and similarly this is the Heartmath Inner Balance okay one end goes into the iPhone the other end clips on to you.

You can buy finger devices you can buy chest monitors you can by wrist monitors there’s lots and lots of ways of actually doing it and it’s a non-invasive piece of technology that enables you to hack and when you were talking earlier Matt it was elite HRV was one of them that I tried for a while on in a morning and it would tell you on the dial where you were yes it’s very simple it’s either your  parasympathetic or sympathetic and what it would say is actually you can do more today because you’re rested here and that’s based on the amount of sleep that you get yeah.

I’m just going to add on to this right at the very end my Oura ring should be here very soon our just a diversion yeah yes I’m not going yeah so this is this is another piece of biohacking software which I will have on my hand and what it will do is measure my heart rate variability at set times it will measure my body temperature as well and um it tracks my sleep so I’ll be able to see based on my sleep how well I mean I do at the moment I track my sleep but I’m able to see then in the morning if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep I tend to look at yeah maybe today’s not the day to go for a marathon because I’m probably not in the best place to do that.

And and also you can see just how much caffeine affects you alcohol affects you so I use a sauna as part of my active recovery and that really massively helps me go to sleep because I pick the time of day that I’ve worked out you kind of tracking what helps me the most so in terms of heart rate variability this software is one of one of many things that you can use to have a look at how you function at your best if you like on a day to day basis but the heart rate variability is the one that gets to the center of it really really quickly isn’t it yes.

Matt

Yeah  definitely yeah and there’s are lots of different ways to boost your HRV yeah you said sauna, cold is good even just splashing your face for cold water first thing in the morning, the mammalian dive reflex has a big impact in HRV.

Cath

Well that’s there and I don’t know if you do this but I do the Wim HOF and I’m still I’m still trying to achieve my cold shower for a set number of minutes oh yeah there’s some mornings I can no yeah 30 seconds that I’m done.

Matt

Yeah no I’m not quite there I do the do the face you know cold water on the face I also do a technique that I learned from Stanley Rosenberg’s book around eye movement first thing. Extreme of eye movement is very good at balancing the vagus nerve you can do it before you get up yeah and then there’s lots of other that lots of other things but it’s active recovery you know if you’re into Yoga, Qigong are two very good yeah activities you can do so it does depend on what sort of Yoga you know some people do you know it’s not caning it you know sometimes it’s just doing some deep stretches if you’ve got a busy day and it’s about actually knowing how you feel and what you need to do you know and if your HRV says don’t go and smash it in the gym tonight go do something active go for a general swim you know that’s more likely to get you into a good place than it is to just cane it because that’s what you do on a Tuesday Night which is what a lot of people do. Yes I think “that’s what I’ve signed up for it I’d better turn up and do that” you know that the spin class where I see people coming out and I tend to look at their faces and I’m not looking at redness I’m looking at and lots of the social engagement cues.

Cath

Yeah that was helpful yeah right okay um I think I think what I’m gonna do actually is I might put on some of the book references it’s so if you’ve got any book references you think people might be interested in reading that obviously I’m going to put the breathing one in because that was techie geeky and for those interested in bio hacking.

Matt

It’s a really good go to book but also a link to a video that I’ve got on my YouTube both as a couple one is on how to set up Inner Balance if they are going to use Heartmah, another one is a half an hour called the Heart Knows Everything which goes in into more detail as to how HRV works and some of the more recent research about how your heart rate variability changes depending on what emotions you’re feeling.

Cath

Yeah there’s quite interesting stuff I’ll give you the links for those about that would be brilliant so I will put those in the show notes this is gonna go out on Bank Holiday Monday it will be so hopefully lots of people would be in active recovery around that time I can listen to this actually I might use that in the title somewhere but there’s something about people being able to go back listen to this watch this click on the links go to the books read whatever yeah and obviously if anybody wants to get in touch about seeing you for any kind of Resilience Coaching I’ll put your details in the show notes and for anybody who’s interested in the kind of idea of technology for trauma and why why I’m doing that and also why I’d said right at the beginning of CyberSynapse I was going to bring this the technology in the heart rate variability stuff the biohacking and why I’m kind of synthesizing trauma and then there’s kind of like biology and I’m putting quite a lot of it together outside of the normal psychotherapy field so if  anybody wants any kind of recessions or anything like that I’m pretty easy to find but this show notes will be more about Matt’s contact details so thank you ever so much for spending your time you know giving up your time and having this conversation that I could have had this conversation for a lot longer today but we are we  are limited and so are people with their time when the listening as well okay so that’s me my pleasure it’s been great all right thank you.

Matt

Experienced business leader, mentor and coach, with fascinations for technology, psychology and ancient philosophies. A self-confessed techno hippy with a unique talent for bringing the best out in people.

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