By Dr Fotini Markopoulou, Co-Founder and Science Director
Many of us are searching for a simple solution to help us work more effectively so that we have more time to do the things we love.
I want to share one trick that you can play on yourself to keep yourself feeling calm and focused. It’s simple, it’s natural, and all you need is the right beat.
1. Take your resting heart rate
Take your pulse and count the number of beats in one minute. Providing you’ve been resting for five minutes beforehand this will be a good indicator of your resting heart rate.
Heart rate depends on several factors such as your age, overall healthiness and what you’re doing. For example, the rate will be higher when exercising or lower when sleeping. But it also varies depending on how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling calm and relaxed your heart rate will be much closer to your resting heart rate than if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or panicked.
2. Think about how you want to feel
Are you feeling stressed about how much you have to do? If so, feeling calmer can help you focus on the tasks ahead of you and work through each of them without feeling overwhelmed.
Or are you feeling tired and lethargic? Does even looking at your to do list feel like a lot of effort? If this is the case, feeling more alert may give you the motivation you need to just. start. working!
3. Find a rhythm
Humans don’t just perceive rhythms; we react to them on a very basic level. Two people walking next to each other will often fall into step without noticing. But rhythms don’t just change our behaviour, they can also change how we feel.
This is because we entrain to them - a faster rhythm makes us more alert, and a slower one calms us down. Even listening to a heartbeat rhythm can change our emotional judgement of pictures.
The human heartbeat is arguably the most natural and ubiquitous biological rhythm and it’s unsurprising that it can be so influential.
At doppel, we research the cutting edge of psychophysiology - the way in which your mind and body affect one-another.
Building on the idea of entrainment, we wanted to see what would happen on people’s mood and focus when we give them a new heartbeat that they can literally wear on their sleeves. If we can entrain to a rhythm we can hear, we wondered whether you could entrain to a rhythm you could feel.
We decided to test this theory out. We designed a wristband which creates a rhythmic pulse that you feel on the inside of your wrist as a heartbeat-like vibration and we asked Dr Manos Tsakiris, Professor of Psychology at Royal Holloway University London to test it.
Participants completed a controlled psychological experiment that requires sustained-attention and fast response. Those wearing the wristband that was delivering 100-120bpm on their wrist showed improved performance than those who were wearing the wristband switched off. This shows that participants who felt the heartbeat-like vibration were more alert and focused.
So by allowing your brain to feel a new heartbeat , you can change how calm or focused you feel, meaning you can get the job done and spend more time doing things you enjoy.
This post previously appeared on Huffington Post.