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Strategies to increase time in resonance

Are you finding it hard to get into resonance during your HRV-B training? First, know that you are not alone! Many of our patients go through periods of difficulty with getting into resonance. We find that most problems come from three different sources:

  • Activated stress response during HRV-B
  • Breathing technique
  • Issues with your device

In this blog post, we’ll go over each of these areas and give you tips on what you can do to help maximize the benefits of your HRV-B training.


Activated stress response during HRV-B

When you are in resonance during HRV-B, your breath is effectively pushing your heart rate up and then letting it fall with each inhale and exhale. When the stress response is activated by negative emotions or other stressors, it can be very hard to get into resonance.

Sometimes training itself can be frustrating, especially if you are wondering why you are not in resonance. When your training evokes negative feelings, try the following:

  • Bring forgiveness to yourself and know that each session is soothing your nervous system, regardless of your performance.
  • Imagine that your negative emotions are a clenched fist.  As you breathe, visualize the fist slowly softening and opening.
  • Practice mindfulness by noticing feelings of frustration, and imagining yourself letting it drift into the distance like a gray cloud in the sky.
  • Before practice, imagine a person or pet you are grateful to have in your life, or a place that brings you some peace. During your practice, return to this thought from time to time.

In addition to negative emotions, other emotional and physiological stressors can make it challenging to get into resonance. If you’re struggling, see if any of the following might be impacting your HRV:

  • Training during stressful parts of your day (hectic morning or evenings managing family and commutes).
  • Training after intense physical exercise
  • Drinking caffeine or alcohol
  • Dehydration
  • Recent travel or time zone changes
  • Poor sleep
  • Having recently eaten a large meal
  • Changing your posture or moving during training
  • Recent or ongoing illness or pain


Refining your breathing technique

Slow paced breathing at six breaths per minute helps stimulate resonance in most people, but subtle shifts in your breathing technique can have a big impact on your HRV. If you’re struggling to get into resonance, check in and make sure that you are:

  • Sitting upright in an active posture
  • Breathing gently and slowly, like you are smelling a flower
  • Following the pacer with gentle focus. If you feel like watching it is too hard, try using the audio cues to pace your breathing.
  • Breathing through your diaphragm, with the lowest ribs expanding softly outwards, and the upper chest and shoulders remaining still.


Issues with your device

If you have general questions about using your device, see our HRV-B Device FAQ. Even your device is working well, there are a few things you might want to try if you continue to struggle with getting into resonance.

  • Check if you have many electrical devices plugged in close to you, which may produce conflicting electrical signals. Try unplugging them during your training.
  • Try lowering any fluorescent lights that could interfere with a light-based sensor
  • Try turning the sensor off and on, or moving the placement slightly to the fleshiest part of your ear.
  • Try warming up your ear with a warm washcloth to encourage blood flow .