Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a way of measuring our present emotional state and stress. We can learn to regulate the subtle rhythms of the heart and create a state of heartfulness (similar to mindfulness but full of compassion). Research has shown that when people breathe slowly and evenly and invoke positive emotions in themselves, the heart produces more coherent beating patterns. This produces a balance between the autonomic and sympathetic nervous systems, which has been shown to be beneficial for health. With practice, a person can learn to access this state in daily life, and even in stressful situations, reducing the production of damaging stress-related hormones and promoting happiness and long term health.
Heart rate variability can become more coherent with biofeedback. A sensor is attached to a finger or an ear lobe and connected to a computer, which analyzes heart rhythm variation and gives feedback. It is easy to do, and can be done for short or long sessions, depending on the needs of the client and the time he or she wishes to spend. HRV training sessions cost $120/hour.