Compassion and Heart Rate Variability

We are very happy to be able to share with you a study looking at two of our favourite topics - heart rate variability and compassion!

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We are very happy to be able to share with you a study looking at two of our favourite topics - heart rate variability and compassion!

HRV is an important physiological marker for overall health, and the body-mind connection. Therefore, there is significant value of training compassion to increase HRV and training HRV to facilitate compassion.

The evolution of care-giving involving hormones, such as oxytocin, enables humans to connect, co-regulate each other's emotions and create pro-sociality. Compassion-based interventions draw upon a number of specific exercises and strategies to stimulate these physiological processes and create conditions of interpersonal safeness, thereby helping people engage with, alleviate, and prevent suffering. Hence, compassion-based approaches are connected with our evolved caring motivation and attachment and our general systems that help regulate distress. Physiologically, they are connected to activity of the vagus nerve and corresponding adaptive heart rate variability (HRV).

This paper argues that the field of compassion science needs to move toward including HRV as a primary outcome measure in its future assessment and training, due to its connection to vagal regulatory activity, and its link to overall health and well-being.

We cannot agree more :)

Have a blessed week everyone.

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS