Advertisement

The impact of a new emotional self-management program on stress, emotions, heart rate variability, DHEA and cortisol

  • Rollin McCraty
  • Bob Barrios-Choplin
  • Deborah Rozman
  • Mike Atkinson
  • Alan D. Watkins
Papers

Abstract

This study examined the effects on healthy adults of a new emotional self-management program, consisting of two key techniques, “Cut-Thru” and the “Heart Lock-In.” These techniques are designed to eliminate negative thought loops and promote sustained positive emotional states. The hypotheses were that training and practice in these techniques would yield lowered levels of stress and negative emotion and cortisol, while resulting in increased positive emotion and DHEA levels over a one-month period. In addition, we hypothesized that increased coherence in heart rate variability patterns would be observed during the practice of the techniques.

Forty-five healthy adults participated in the study, fifteen of whom acted as a comparison group for the psychological measures. Salivary DHEA/DHEAS and cortisol levels were measured, autonomic nervous system function was assessed by heart rate variability analysis, and emotions were measured using a psychological questionnaire. Individuals in the experimental group were assessed before and four weeks after receiving training in the self-management techniques.

The experimental group experienced significant increases in the positive affect scales of Caring and Vigor and significant decreases in the negative affect scales of Guilt, Hostility, Burnout, Anxiety and Stress Effects, while no significant changes were seen in the comparison group. There was a mean 23 percent reduction in cortisol and a 100 percent increase in DHEA/DHEAS in the experimental group. DHEA was significantly and positively related to the affective state Warmheartedness, whereas cortisol was significantly and positively related to Stress Effects. Increased coherence in heart rate variability patterns was measured in 80 percent of the experimental group during the use of the techniques.

The results suggest that techniques designed to eliminate negative thought loops can have important positive effects on stress, emotions and key physiological systems. The implications are that relatively inexpensive interventions may dramatically and positively impact individuals’ health and well-being. Thus, individuals may have greater control over their minds, bodies and health than previously suspected.

Keywords

Cortisol Heart Rate Variability Cortisol Level Salivary Cortisol Dehydroepiandrosterone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ader, R., Felten, D., & Cohen, N. (1990). Interactions between the brain and the immune system.Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology 30: 561–602.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akselrod, S. (1995). Components of heart rate variability: Basic studies. In M. Malik and A. J. Camm (Eds.),Heart Rate Variability. Armonk, NY: Futura Publishing Company, Inc.Google Scholar
  3. Armour, J.A. (1994). Peripheral autonomic neuronal interactions in cardiac regulation. In J. A. Armour and J. L. Ardell (Eds.),Neurocardiology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Barrett-Connor, E., Khaw, K.T., & Yen, S.S. (1986). A prospective study of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, mortality, and cardiovascular disease.New England Journal of Medicine 315 (24):1519–1524.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barrios-Choplin, B., McCraty, R., & Cryer, B. (1997). A new approach to reducing stress and improving physical and emotional well being at work.Stress Medicine 13: 193–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bechara, A., Tranel, D., Damasio, H., Adolphs, R., Rockland, C., & Damasio, A. (1995). Double dissociation of conditioning and declarative knowledge relative to the amygdala and hippocampus in humans.Science 269(5227): 1115–1118.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhatavdekar, J.M., Patel, D.D., Chikhlikar, P.R., Mahta, R.H., Vora, H.H., Karelia, N.H., Ghosh, N., Shah, N.G., Suthar, T.P., & Neema, J.P., (1994). Levels of circulating peptide and steroid hormones in men with lung cancer.Neoplasma 41(2):101–103.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bhatavdekar, J.M., Patel, D.D., Shah, N.G., Giri, D.D., Vora, H.H., Karelia, N.H., Trivedi, S.N., Ghosh, N., & Suthar, T.P., (1992). Endocrine status in stage II vs. advanced premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer patients.Neoplasma 39(1): 39–42.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Bolufer, P., Gandia, A., Rodriguez, A. & Antonio, P. (1989). Salivary corticosteroids in the of study of adrenal function.Clinica Chimica Acta 183(2):217–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cahill, L., Prins, B., Weber, M., & McGaugh, J.L. (1994). β-Adrenergic activation and memory for emotional events.Nature 371: 702–704.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Childre, D. L. (1995).Speed of Balance—A Musical Adventure for Emotional and Mental Regeneration. Boulder Creek, CA: Planetary Publications.Google Scholar
  12. Childre, D.L. (1996).Cut-Thru. Boulder Creek: Planetary Publications.Google Scholar
  13. Cooper, C., & Marshall, J. (1976). Occupational sources of stress: A review of the literature relating to coronary heart disease and mental health.Journal of Occupational Psychology 49: 11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Damasio, A.R. (1994).Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.Google Scholar
  15. Davis, M. (1992). The role of the amygdala in conditioned fear. In J.P. Aggleton (Ed.),The Amygdala. New York: Wiley-Liss.Google Scholar
  16. DeFeo, P. (1989). Contribution of cortisol to glucose counterregulation in humans.American Journal of Physiology 257: E35-E42.Google Scholar
  17. Drinkhill, M.J., & Mary, D.A. (1989). The effect of stimulation of the atrial receptors on plasma cortisol level in the dog.Journal of Physiology 413:299–313.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Ebeling, P., & Koivisto, V.A., (1994). Physiological importance of dehydroepiandrosterone.Lancet 343 (8911): 1479–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Engel, G.L. (1977). The need for a new medical model: A challenge for biomedicine.Science 196: 129–136.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fackelman, K., & Raloff, J. (1993). Psychological stress linked to cancer.Science News 144: 196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fawzy, F.I., Fawzy, N.W., Hyun, C.S., Elashoff, R., Guthrie, D., Fahey, J.L., & Morton, D.L. (1993). Malignant melanoma: Effects of an early structured psychiatric intervention, coping, and affective state on recurrence and survival 6 years later.Archives of General Psychiatry 50(9): 681–689.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Feo, F., & Pascale, R. (1990). Glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase and the relation of dehydroepiandrosterone to carcinogenesis. In M. Kalimi and W. Regelson (Eds.),The biologic Role of Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Berlin, NY: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  23. Frese, M. (1985) Stress at work and psychosomatic complaints: A causal interpretation.Journal of Applied Psychology 70(2):314.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Frysinger, R.C., & Harper, R.M. (1990). Cardiac and respiratory correlations with unit discharge in epileptic human temporal lobe.Epilepsia, 31: 162–171.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Galard, R. (1991). Salivary cortisol levels and their correlation with plasma ACTH levels in depressed patients before and after DST.American Journal of Psychiatry 148: 505–508.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Gann, D.S. (1966). Carotid vascular receptors and control of adrenal corticosteroid secretion.American Journal of Physiology 211:193–197.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Gann, D.S., Dallman, M.F., & Engeland, W.C. (1981). Reflex control and modulation of ACTH and corticosteroids.International Review of Physiology Endocrine Physiology III 24: 157–197.Google Scholar
  28. Goleman, D. (1995).Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  29. Gray, T. (1993). Amygdaloid CRF pathways: Role in autonomic, neuroendocrine and behavioural responses to stress.Annals of the New York Academy of Medicine 697: 53–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Grossarth-Maticek, R., Eysenck, H.J., & Vetter, H. (1988). Personality type, smoking habit and their interaction as predictors of cancer and coronary heart disease.Personality & Individual Differences 9(2): 479–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gruman, J., & Chesney, M. (1995). Introduction for superhighways for disease.Psychosomatic Medicine 57: 207.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Hauger, R., Irwin, M., Lorang, M., Aguilera, G., & Brown, M. (1993). High intracerebral levels of CRH result in CRH receptor downregulation in the amygdala and neuroimmune desensitization.Brain Research 616 (1–2): 283–292.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Herrington, D. M. (1995). Dehydroepiandrosterone and coronary atherosclerosis.Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 774: 271–280.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hiemke, C. (1994). Circadian variations in antigen-specific proliferation of human T lymphocytes and correlation to cortisol production.Psychoneuroendocrinology 20: 335–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jabaaij, L. (1993). Immunologic, endocrine and psychological influences on cortisol-induced immunoglobulin synthesis in vitro.Psychoneuroendocrinology 18: 591–605.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Karasek, R. (1979). Job demands, job decision latitude and mental strain: Implications for job design.Administrative Science Quarterly 24:285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kautzner, J. (1995). Reproducibility of heart rate variability measurement. In M. Malik and A. J. Camm (Eds.),Heart Rate Variability. Armonk, NY: Futura Publishing Company, Inc.Google Scholar
  38. Kerr, D.S., Campbell, L.W., Applegate, M.D., Brodish, A., & Landfield, P.W. (1991). Chronic stress-induced acceleration of electrophysiologic and morphometric biomarkers of hippocampal aging.Society of Neuroscience 11(5): 1316–1317.Google Scholar
  39. Lac, G., Lac, N., & Robert, A. (1993). Steroid assays in saliva: A method to detect plasmatic contaminations.Archives of International Physiology Biochemistry and Biophysics 101: 257–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lacey, J.I., & Lacey, B.C. (1978). Two-way communication between the heart and the brain: Significance of time within the cardiac cycle.American Psychologist (February): 99–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Laudat, M.H. (1988). Salivary cortisol measurements: A practical approach to assess pituitary-adrenal function.Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 66: 343–348.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. LeDoux, J. (1996).The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  43. LeDoux, J.E. (1993). Emotional memory systems in the brain.Behavioural Brain Research 58(1–2): 69–79.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lessmeier, T.J., Gamperling, D., Johnson-Liddon, V., Fromm, B.S., Steinman, R.T., Meissner, M.D., & Lehmann, M.H. (1997). Unrecognized paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia: Potential for misdiagnosis as panic disorder.Archives of Internal Medicine. 157: 537–543.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lown, B., DeSilva, M., & Lenson, R. (1978). Role of psychologic stress and autonomic nervous system changes in provocation of ventricular premature complexes.American Journal of Cardiology 41(6): 979–985.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lown, B., & Verrier, R. (1976). Neural activity and ventricular fibrillation.New England Journal of Medicine 294(21): 1165–1172.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Manolagas, S.C. (1979). Adrenal steroids and the development of osteoporosis in oophorectomized women.Lancet 2: 597.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Marin, P. (1992). Cortisol secretion in relation to body fat distribution in obese premenopausal women.Metabolism 41: 882–886.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mayer, D., Weber, E., & Bannasch, P. (1990). Modulation of liver carcinogenesis by deyhydroepiandrosterone. In M. Kalimi and W. Regelson (Eds.),The Biological Role of Dehydroepiandrosterone. New York: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  50. McCraty, R., Atkinson, M., Rein, G., & Watkins, A.D. (1996). Music enhances the effect of positive emotional states on salivary IgA.Stress Medicine 12: 167–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. McCraty, R., Atkinson, M., Tiller, W.A., Rein, G., & Watkins, A. (1995a). The effects of emotions on short term heart rate variability using power spectrum analysis.American Journal of Cardiology 76: 1089–1093.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. McCraty, R., Tiller, W.A., & Atkinson, M. (1995b). Head-Heart Entrainment: A preliminary survey. Proceedings of the Key West 1996 Brain Mind Applied Neurophysiology EEG Neurofeedback Meeting, Key West, FL.Google Scholar
  53. McCraty, R., & Watkins, A. (1996).Autonomic Assessment Report Interpretation Guide. Boulder Creek, CA: Institute of HeartMath.Google Scholar
  54. Morales, A.J., Nolan, J.J., Nelson, N.C., & Yen, S.S. (1994). Effects of replacement dose of dehydroepian-drosterone in men and women of advancing age.Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 78(6): 1360–1367.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Namiki, M. (1994). Biological markers of aging.Nippon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi 31: 85–95.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Nasman, B. (1995). Abnormalities in adrenal androgens, but not of glucocorticoids, in early, Alzheimer’s disease.Psychoneuroendocrinology 20; 83–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Nestler, J.E., Clore, J.N., & Blackard, W.G. (1992). Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA): The missing link between hyperinsulinemia and atherosclerosis?Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 6(12): 3073–3075.Google Scholar
  58. Nicolau, G.Y., Haus, E., Lakatua, D.J., Bogdan, C., Sackett-Lundeen, L., Popescu, M., Berg, H., Petrescu, E., & Robu, E. (1985). Circadian and circannual variations of FSH, LH, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosteronesulfate (DHEAS) and 17-hydroxy progesterone in men and women.Endocrinology 23(4): 223–246.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Nyce, J.W., Magee, P.N., Hard, G.C., & Schwartz, A.G. (1984). Inhibition of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine-induced colon tumorigenesis in Balb/c mice by dehydroepiandrosterone.Carcinogenesis 5: 57–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Oppenheimer, S., & Hopkins, D. (1994). Suprabulbar neuronal regulation of the heart. In J. A. Armour and J. L. Ardell (Eds.),Neurocardiology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Paddison, S. (1992).The Hidden Power of the Heart. Boulder Creek, CA: Planetary Publications.Google Scholar
  62. Parker, C.R., & Baxter, C.R. (1985). Divergence in adrenal steroid secretory pattern after thermal injury in adult patients.Journal of Trauma, 25: 508–510.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Raczkowska, M. (1988). Circadian rhythm of adrenergic regulation of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and cortisol secretion in man.Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 67: 404–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Rau, H., Pauli, P., Brody, S., & Elbert, T. (1993). Baroreceptor stimulation alters cortical activity.Psychophysiology 30: 322–325.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Roberts, E., & Fitten, L.J. (1990). Serum steroid levels in two old men with Alzheimer’s disease before, during and after administration of DHEA, In W. de Gruyter (Eds.),The Biologic Role of Dehydroepiandrosterone. New York: Berlin.Google Scholar
  66. Roozendaal, B., Schoorlemmer, G., Koolhaas, J., & Bohus, B. (1993). Cardiac, neuroendocrine and behavioral effects of central amygdaloid vasopressinergic and oxytocinergic mechanisms under stress-free conditions in rats.Brain Research Bulletin 32(6): 573–579.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Rosenfield, R.S. (1975). 24-hour secretory patterns of dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate.Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 40: 850–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Schwartz, A.G. (1979). Inhibition of spontaneous breast cancer formation in female C3H (A vy/a) mice by long-term treatment with dehydroepiandrosterone.Cancer Research 39: 1129–1132.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Shafagoj, Y., Opoku, J., Regelson, D., & Kalimi, W. (1992). Dehydroepiandrosterone prevents dexamethasone-induced hypertension in rats.American Journal of Physiology 263: E210–3.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Shealy, N. (1995). A review of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA),Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science 30(4): 308–313.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Sloan, R.P., Shapiro, P.A., Bagiella, E., Boni, S.M., Paik, M., Bigger, J.T., Steinman, R.C., & Gorman, J.M. (1994). Effect of mental stress throughout the day on cardiac autonomic control.Biological Psychology 37 (March): 89–99.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Spiegel, D., Bloom, J., Kraemer, H., & Gottheil, E. (1989). Effect of psychosocial treatment on survival of patients with metastatic breast cancer.Lancet 336: 606–610.Google Scholar
  73. Task Force of the European Society of Cardiology and the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (1996). Heart rate variability standards of measurement, physiological interpretation, and clinical use.Circulation 93: 1043–1065.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Tiller, W., McCraty, R., & Atkinson, M. (1996). Cardiac coherence: A new noninvasive measure of autonomic system order.Alternative Therapies 2 (1): 52–65.Google Scholar
  75. Umetani, K., Singer, D., McCraty, R., & Atkinson, M. (1998). 24-hour time domain heart rate variability and heart rate: Relationships to age and gender over nine decades.Journal of the American College of Cardiology 31(3): 593–601.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Urban, R.J. (1992). Neuroendocrinology of aging in the male and female.Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America 21(4): 921–931.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Velicheti, R., Catanzaro, J., & Suen, R. (1996). Physiology and clinical relevance of salivary adrenal steroids (cortisol, DHEA & DHEAS) in natural medicine.Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (July): 36–41.Google Scholar
  78. Watkins, A. (Ed.), (1997).Mind-Body Medicine: A Clinician’s Guide to Psychoneuroimmunology. London: Churchill Livingstone.Google Scholar
  79. Watkins, A.D. (1995). Perceptions, emotions and immunity: An integrated homeostatic network.Quarterly Journal of Medicine 88: 283–294.Google Scholar
  80. Watson, D., & Tellegen, A. (1985). Toward a consensual structure of mood.Psychological Bulletin 98 (2): 219.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wisniewski, T.L., Hilton, C.W., Morse, E.V., & Svec, F. (1993). The relationship of serum DHEA-S and cortisol levels to measures of immune function in human immunodeficiency virus-related illness.American Journal of Medical Science 305(2): 79–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Yen, S.S., Morales, A.J., & Khorram, O. (1995). Replacement of DHEA in aging men and women. Potential remedial effects.Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 774: 128–142.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Zhang, J., Harper, R.M., & Frysinger, R.C. (1986). Respiratory modulation of neuronal discharge in the central nucleus of the amygdala during sleep and waking states.Experimental Neurology 91: 193–207.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rollin McCraty
    • 1
  • Bob Barrios-Choplin
    • 2
  • Deborah Rozman
    • 1
  • Mike Atkinson
    • 1
  • Alan D. Watkins
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of HeartMathBoulder Creek
  2. 2.U.S. Naval Postgraduate SchoolMonterey
  3. 3.Southampton General HospitalSouthamptonUK

Personalised recommendations