Heart Rate Variability
When at rest, a healthy heart beat speeds up as you inhale, and slows down as you exhale. These moment-to-moment changes between successive heart beats are a telling measurement of nervous system health in terms of physical, emotional, and mental function. Studies show high heart rate variability is associated with better recovery following exertion, higher resilience to psychophysiological disorders, as well as positive feelings and outlooks on life. Stress, especially when prolonged, decreases heart rate variability. Training to increase heart rate variability by following slow, relaxed paced breathing decreases the effects of stress on the nervous system, leading to diminished negative psychophysiological issues.