Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stress Eraser by Michael Logan

Stress eraser is one of those phrases that makes me smile a bit, brings to mind an image of those products that I saw advertised as a kid in the back of comic books. Maybe you remember, the disc with the spiral on it that was supposed to hypnotize folks...and all the other weird things that would capture a kids imagination and he would send off his paper route money for.

But erasing stress is a real life issue because unnecessary stress takes a tremendous toll on us human beings, beginning but not ending with our brain fitness.

Not sure about you, but I believe that size matters when it comes to my brain, and I actually do grow neurons daily and those new neurons can get moved to the hippocampus and installed where needed if they are not bathed in unnecessary stress hormones.

I am supposed to have stress by the way, but I do not want to sustain a flight or fight chemistry if I am not actually under attack, because that physiology, which is designed to help me run for my life or fight for my life or freeze, really reduces my effectiveness in the board room or the living room, where stress needs to be eustress rather than distress.

Ever heard of ergotropic tuning?

Here is how ergotropic tuning is described at the Wise Geek in an article by Malcum Tatum;

"Ergotropic tuning is a process that results in reprogramming the nerves to respond more quickly and with a greater degree of urgency to stress. Generally, ergotropic tuning takes place on a subconscious level as a result of prolonged periods of stress that impact the natural breathing cycle of the individual. The result of this reprogramming of natural body rhythms can lead to a number of stress related health issues, such as a weakened immune system, emotional problems with depression and anxiety, and panic disorders."

Is there a cure or tool to undo ergotropic tuning? Yes, primarily involving breathing.

An excellent lifestyle model might be the brain fitness model, which means I make decisions about my life which are designed to enhance the growth on new neurons daily, called neurogenesis, and increase neuroplasticity, which is the number and amount of connections between neurons.

The components of that lifestyle, often called the Pillars of Brain Fitness, are physical exercise (and the best kind is the kind that increases your deep breathing), nutrition including antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acid, good sleep, stress management if not stress erasing, and novel learning experiences.

If you noticed in the ergotropic tuning definition above, there is a training that happens to the body, meaning we learn to breathe very shallow in our chest, and we can unlearn that and actually learn a deeper breathing pattern and a relaxation physiology using a tool based on heart rate variability biofeedback, which fits with the brain fitness pillars for increasing neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.

Heart rate variability biofeedback takes advantage of recent discoveries about the heart's own very sophisticated nervous system, a system that can learn and make decisions independently of any other brain I have. And that brain, with a bit of biofeedback training, can keep my heart beating coherently or re-establish coherence on any given heart beat.

How do I know that? I have been using the tool personally and professionally since 2000, and I have demonstrated its stress erasing efficacy to hundreds of folks in my anger management classes.

The heart rate variability tool has a coach included in the software package that will teach how to handle both the breathing and cognitive components.

Another aspect of the stress erasing heart rate variability biofeedback tool is that it is learned. Once I have mastered the biofeedback aspect of the training I can cue the relaxed, coherent physiology on any given heart beat. In fact I can cue it even when I don't need it just because it feels good.

Heart rate variability biofeedback will not make you richer, or cure baldness, or make you better looking, but it does play a significant role in making those things better because it opens the higher perceptual centers in the brain (there is that brain fitness again) for better decision making.

So stress erasing can actually end up increasing the number of neurons I have available to make decisions? Teach me that biofeedback.