It was August 2017 as I wrote these words in my notebook. I was sitting in my quiet room in an old guesthouse in the small town of Zao Onsen, overlooking the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture.
I was on holiday, a slow trip on local trains through rural Japan. I thought it might be nice to get a break from fast-paced Tokyo for a few days, explore Japan a bit more, and get a fresh perspective. It wasn’t an attempt to escape, I didn’t feel like there was anything I wanted or needed to escape from. I thought everything was…
[TLDR: I designed soundscapes specifically for resonance breathing, and tested them on myself, showing on average a 25% increase in HRV compared to silence. I will be releasing these soundscapes for different breathing frequencies next week.]
Sounds and music can have a profound impact on us.
This is probably clear to everyone on an emotional level. What might be less obvious is that sound can also trigger a physiological response, either indirectly through the mind/body connection or — potentially — through some more direct physical processes.
To some extent, I’m sure everyone has felt these effects.
Just think of the…
It is well established that breathing at a certain frequency, known as the resonance frequency, triggers a strong cardiovascular response that maximizes heart rate variability (HRV). Determining this frequency, which varies from person to person, usually forms the starting point for HRV biofeedback training.
What is however less often considered is that the ratio of inhale to exhale duration can also impact the response of the autonomic nervous system.
We crave connection.
Whether physical or digital, through active interaction with others or by passively observing their lives through news and social media feeds, we want to be connected.
Connection makes us feel like we are part of a community — even more so in times where being part of real, physical communities has become increasingly difficult — and appears to soothe our ever-increasing collective loneliness.
But it also prevents us from accessing loneliness’s positive (although often ignored or misunderstood) counterpart: solitude.
Rather than a sense of isolation and lack of connection, solitude is a positive and fruitful state, one…
Heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback training promises to strengthen the response of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and increase adaptability and resilience, physiologically as well as mentally.
It relies on the strong coupling between breath and heart, and more specifically the fact that slow breathing at a certain frequency — the resonance frequency — triggers a strong physiological heart rate response. On the inhale the heart beat speeds up and on the exhale it slows down, leading to a high HRV and training the ANS to be more adaptable.
I recently wrote about the exact biomechanical mechanisms that underly this…
It used to be that character was the highest ideal a person could aspire to.
Actions spoke louder than words.
Being quiet, disciplined, and honorable was seen as good and strong.
But as the late historian Warren Susman remarked, this all changed at the beginning of the 20th century, as America underwent a shift from a “Culture of Character” to a “Culture of Personality,” with salesmen and orators taking the spotlight. Suddenly the new values that counted most were to be bold and entertaining — public image over private behavior.
As people interacted more and more with strangers in anonymous…
Heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback training and resonance breathing are based on the fact that our breathing has a direct impact on the rest of our physiology, specifically our heart. In this short article I will outline the mechanisms behind this.
The process begins with the diaphragm.
On the inhale, the diaphragm moves downward, creating more space in the chest cavity and — like the plunger in a syringe — sucking in air.
But not only does this additional space pull air into your lungs, it also decreases the pressure on the heart and allows it to physically expand and…
Compensation is one of the main criteria for evaluating a job.
A six-figure income has for a long time been a benchmark of success, and what many people — especially millennials — aspire to.
But while absolute salary is a very alluring metric, it only paints a very limited picture. Even if they might make the exact same amount, there is a huge difference between, to take an extreme example, an investment banker working an average of 90 hours a week and a highly successful author living off royalties and the occasional speaking engagement.
Absolute income says nothing about how…
Our body and mind are not separate entities.
Many would even argue that there is no strong reason to believe that the mind is anything but a manifestation of the body.
Whether you fall into this group or believe that your mind is more than just an emergent phenomenon of the meat-machine that is you, it is hard to deny their strong connection.
Everyone will be keenly aware of the impact our mind has on our body, from the placebo effect or the energy boost we get from euphoria, to the physical pain and even suppressed immune system when we…
The future of work is rapidly unfolding in front of us.
Transformation has been accelerating over the past decades, and the massive disruption of the global COVID-19 pandemic added a further boost to these changes.
From a rise in digitization and remote collaboration to an ever-increasing number of people entirely rethinking conventional employment and opting for more freedom and flexibility over higher salaries, traditional models are being challenged everywhere.
Personally, I have spent a large part of my professional career working on one of the major drivers behind transformation: artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The first reaction many people have…