"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."
Showing posts with label Stress Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stress Management. Show all posts

Thursday, March 22, 2012

YOUR HEART IS A KEY TO A BETTER NIGHT SLEEP, according to Sara Childre, President, Institute of HeartMath, USA

The following useful information came to me via an email subscription from Sara Childre, President, Institute of HeartMath, USA:

It’s harder for many people to get a good night’s sleep in these times. You probably have heard the statistics. Sleeplessness affects all age groups. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that about 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia each year.

The National Sleep Foundation reports that disordered sleep – difficulty falling asleep, light sleep or non-restorative sleep for several nights or more weekly – affects nearly two-thirds of American adults at some point.

Not enough sleep affects quality of life – emotional well-being, mental clarity, communications, performance at work or elsewhere, even our sense of connection to our authentic self – and ultimately our long-term health.                       

Stress is a leading cause of abnormal sleep patterns. For many of us, worries and concerns we’ve been pushing aside finally get their time to play out on the stage of our minds without distraction at night. Then we get anxious about not sleeping, which only makes it harder to sleep the next night.

Anxiety releases adrenaline which prompts body and mind into action – the opposite of what we need for sleeping. It’s a catch-22. But the result is usually the same.

You are foggy or exhausted the next day. Maybe you keep yourself alert with coffee, sugar or other stimulants, but then you crash and drag around. Many of us have tried a lot of the remedies and still often find ourselves lying awake a good part of the night. What are we to do?

If any of this describes you or someone you care about, there is a place about one to two feet under your nose (depending on how tall you are) that you may not have looked for a remedy. That place is your heart.                     

How Your Heart Can Help You Sleep Better

Tip 1: Reset your inner rhythm.

Your heart beats in a rhythm. When you are worried, anxious, stressed or overstimulated, that rhythm becomes irregular. The more stressed you are, the more chaotic your heart rhythm becomes.

So what makes the heart rhythm smooth out quickly?

It’s sincere positive feelings, like: love, care, gratitude, appreciation, compassion, kindness, peace and ease. These feelings not only feel soothing and good, but they are good for you. They bring a smooth order to your heart rhythms, reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) to help you sleep more soundly and increase DHEA (the vitality hormone) so you wake up more refreshed.

You can see in the picture below how jagged the heart rhythm pattern is when you’re anxious or frustrated and how smooth and sine-wave like (coherent) it becomes when you’re bathing in a positive feeling.    

Both of the above graphs are of the same person feeling anxiety then using a heart technique to shift to a positive feeling and their heart rhythm pattern changed within a period of a few minutes!

What’s even more important for the sleep deprived is that scientists have found that this smooth, coherent rhythm is the pattern your heart rhythm naturally goes into during deep restful sleep.

So why not give it some help? Here’s what you can do:

When you close your eyes at night, tell yourself you aren’t going to overdramatize your concerns about sleeping.

Then do this heart-focused technique we call Attitude Breathing to help you create the coherent rhythmic pattern that can facilitate deeper and more effective sleep: Gently breathe an attitude of calm, ease and relaxation for a minute or two.

When relaxed, breathe an attitude of appreciation, gratitude or love for someone or something – a pet, a time in nature, etc.

Do this for a few minutes or more to activate coherent heart rhythms and release beneficial hormones to reduce stress and restore your system.

Tip 2: Have you ever noticed what happens when you go to bed without resolving a real or imagined conflict with someone?

Your mind won’t stop rehashing what you could have or should have said. Your heart can help. Here’s how:            

If you can, communicate with the other person, even by phone, before you go to bed. With a caring open-heartedness and latitude, try to work it out.

First ask yourself if there’s something you need to correct within yourself to help the situation.

Apologize if you need to and listen from your heart with an attitude of genuine care.

Ask questions to sincerely understand where he/she was coming from, even if you think you know. If you can’t reach the person, talk about the problem with someone who won’t automatically take your side and may provide another point of view. Then talk to the person as soon as you can. Don’t chicken out.

Even if the situation doesn’t resolve right away, you can release yourself more knowing that you tried.

Breathing the attitude of self-compassion (using Tip 1) has helped many people in "hard-to-resolve" situations.                  

Tip 3: Realize that emotional reactions during the day can affect how you sleep at night.

If you allow stress to build-up during the day, it throws off your body’s rhythms and can lead to overload, headaches, backaches, indigestion, energy drain and more.

Your heart generates the strongest rhythmic pattern in the body, and your brain and nervous system entrain to your heart’s rhythm whether coherent or incoherent.

Shifting your heart into a smooth coherent rhythm a couple times during the day helps release stress as you go and resets your body’s rhythms for better sleep at night.

Here’s how:

Take a coherence break in-between activities, at your desk or anywhere.

Shift your attention to your heart (look at picture of a loved one, remember a favorite pet, or recall a time in nature) and feel appreciation or gratitude.

It’s important that the appreciation be heartfelt (not just from your mind) to activate heart coherence and the hormones that help bring harmony and stability to your mental and emotional nature.

Breathe a true feeling or attitude of appreciation through the area of your heart for a minute or two (without mentally multi-tasking as you do this).

Taking a coherence break also increases balance and resilience, and it helps you listen to your heart’s intuitive guidance on what else you need to do to release stress or prevent stress build-up.

It may take several days using these tips for your sleep rhythms to reset if they’ve been out of whack for a while. Even if you don’t sleep like a baby the first night, you will start to accrue benefits from the practice.

To speed up the process, practice the Quick Coherence® Technique several times during the day to reduce the stress that’s keeping you awake at night. You’ll learn to relieve worry, fatigue and tension.

Improve your emotional, mental and physical balance during the day so you’re prepared for restful sleep at night.

Or you might want to try the emWave2 solution for Better Sleep, a heart rhythm coherence trainer technology to watch in real-time when your heart rhythms shift into that smooth coherent state and a booklet of personal stories and instructions will help you sleep more peacefully more often.                   

[More information about the exemplary research work at the Institute of HeartMath, and access to their Research Library, can be found respectively at this link and/or this link.

Throughout the nineties, while my small but unique retail store, aptly called 'The Brain Resource', was in operation at the periphery of the Central Business District of Singapore, I often carried many of their books, audios/videos, and other resources.]

Thursday, June 17, 2010


The following valuable information comes from the Institute of HearthMath, a recognized, global leader in emotional physiology, stress management and the physiology of heart-brain research.

We all know that millions of people are experiencing extra stress. Much outgoing care and compassion is needed to help ease the emotional pain that so many are increasingly experiencing.

Doc Lew Childre, founder of HeartMath, has written a free ebook, "De-Stress Kit for the Changing Times," that provides a few simple practices to help people intercept and manage stress during this period of challenge and uncertainty.

Readers can go to this link to download a free copy of the ebook.

The audio version, in MP3 format, is available at this link.

My first encounter with the work of HeartMath dates back to the mid-nineties, when I had learnt to practise their "Freeze-Frame", an instant & yet powerful self-inducing methodology for intentionally shifting emotional states in the moment as a prelude to effective stress management.

[Doc Lew Chidre is also the author of the book, among others, 'Freeze-Frame: Fast Action Stress Relief : A Scientifically Proven Technique' (1994)]


According to the Institute of HeartMath, a recognized, global leader in emotional physiology, stress management and the physiology of heart-brain research, there is a "state of ease" that each of us can access to help release emotional turbulence and help maintain coherent alignment between our heart, mind and emotions.

Learning to access our personal space of "inner-ease" can be done with minimum practice and in just a little time. When operating in an ease-mode, it’s easier to choose less stressful perceptions and attitudes and re-create "flow" in our daily routines.

Readers can go to this link to download a free copy of the ebook about the "State of Ease."

My first encounter with the work of HeartMath dates back to the mid-nineties, when I had learnt to practise their "Freeze-Frame", an instant & yet powerful self-inducing methodology for intentionally shifting emotional states in the moment as a prelude to effective stress management.

Monday, May 18, 2009


This is essentially a syntopical review of two small but great books, which I had read - & followed many of the ideas - more than ten years ago.

During spring cleaning of my home to usher in the 'Year of the Ox', I just happened to find the two books on the shelves, & naturally took the opportunity to reread them.

They are:

1. 'The Art of Doing Nothing', by Veronique Vienne & Erica Lennard;

2. 'The Art of Napping', by William Anthony;

Ever since I had read Jeff Davidson's classic, entitled 'Breathing Space', also many years ago, I have always valued - & benefitted tremendously from - the power of time-out.

In a world where the future is hurtling at breakneck speed with hurricane-force changes, all of us must learn to do some time-outs!

In fact, & sad to say, we are doing too much & yet, living too little!

The first book is beautifully illustrated with light-hearted but informative essays, interspersed with superb B&W photographs of nature scenes & human forms, encompassing a total of ten appropriate chapters covering:

Procrastination, Breathing, Meditating, Lounging, Yawning, Napping, Bathing, Tasting, Listening & Waiting.

Most of us are probably aware of all these areas, instinctually, but how many of us really know how to make the best of each or how to savor life's simplest moments in each?

That's to say, the book actually gives us the full permission - & more importantly, also show us the way - to celebrate idleness & cultivate serenity in all their mesmerising forms.

As for the second book, which is also equally light-hearted, but more humourously illustrated with funny cartoons, I find myself nonetheless amused & entertained by the author's introduction to a napaphobic culture.

In a nutshell, these are the author's fun stuff in the second book:

- profiles in napping (stories of legendary nappers, including JFK, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edision, Napoleon Bonaparte, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan!);

- napping strategies (from novice to advanced levels);

- nap management (getting the most from your naps);

- the future of napping;

In some way, the second book reinforces the chapter on 'The Art of Napping' in the first book.

To sum up my syntopical review, I want to say that the above-mentioned two books (plus, Jeff Davidson's book) are excellent handy guides & timely reminders for the time-pressed, over-achieving generation.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Stress equates with distress . . . Neither help with exhibiting prime learning or recall abilities. Stress raises blood pressure, as the heart and blood vessels react to emotions.

If we are constantly stressed, all the symptoms involved in blood pressure control become overworked.

It is thus very important to learn and practise stress-release techniques; some of these could be yoga, t'ai chi, aikido, breathing exercises, aerobics and meditation.

A positive mental attitude is highly recommended.

Modern research has given us cause to believe that people in their fourth decade onwards can retain only a perfect memory, but exude a tremendously high level of creativity.

There is nothing to stop them having "youthful minds", as seen in young people, where dynamic brain power, learning ability, creativity and emotional zest are commonly evidenced.

Recent findings have revealed that stress is directly related to the production of cortisol, one of the hormones secreted by the adrenal glands. Though not harmful in moderate amounts, chronic levels are toxic and found to be the primary cause of brain degeneration during the aging process.

Evidence suggests that excessive cortisol production over decades destroys the biochemical integrity of the brain.

It has now been found that cortisol robs your brain of its only source of fuel: glucose. This has a direct impact on the neurotransmitters - the brain's chemical messenger - which transport your thoughts from one brain cell to the next.

Disruption of neurotransmitter function, along with a slump in the brain's fuel supply, results in difficulties with concentration and memory.

In essence, cortisol over-production ruins hormonal balance, and throws the brain and nervous system into a tailspin.

[Excerpted from 'Braindancing: Brain-blazing Practical Techniques in Creativity for Immediate Application', by Dilip Mukerjea. All the images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

Say Keng's personal comments:

According to Ms Sanveen Kang, a clinical psychologist at Singapore's Institute of Mental Health [as reported in the Straits Times' 'Mind Your Body' supplement of 26th February 2009]:

'Never dismiss stress; instead, learn to cope and tackle the problems one by one.'

The supplement offers 40 great tips from local medical experts on how to hang loose, which readers can read more about in my earlier post in the 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog.