The impact of a new emotional self-management program on stress, emotions, heart rate variability, DHEA and cortisol
- 1.4k Downloads
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.
KeywordsCortisol Heart Rate Variability Cortisol Level Salivary Cortisol Dehydroepiandrosterone
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 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
- 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
- Childre, D. L. (1995).Speed of Balance—A Musical Adventure for Emotional and Mental Regeneration. Boulder Creek, CA: Planetary Publications.Google Scholar
- Childre, D.L. (1996).Cut-Thru. Boulder Creek: Planetary Publications.Google Scholar
- Damasio, A.R. (1994).Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.Google Scholar
- Davis, M. (1992). The role of the amygdala in conditioned fear. In J.P. Aggleton (Ed.),The Amygdala. New York: Wiley-Liss.Google Scholar
- DeFeo, P. (1989). Contribution of cortisol to glucose counterregulation in humans.American Journal of Physiology 257: E35-E42.Google Scholar
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Goleman, D. (1995).Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
- 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
- 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
- LeDoux, J. (1996).The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
- 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
- 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
- McCraty, R., & Watkins, A. (1996).Autonomic Assessment Report Interpretation Guide. Boulder Creek, CA: Institute of HeartMath.Google Scholar
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Paddison, S. (1992).The Hidden Power of the Heart. Boulder Creek, CA: Planetary Publications.Google Scholar
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Watkins, A. (Ed.), (1997).Mind-Body Medicine: A Clinician’s Guide to Psychoneuroimmunology. London: Churchill Livingstone.Google Scholar
- Watkins, A.D. (1995). Perceptions, emotions and immunity: An integrated homeostatic network.Quarterly Journal of Medicine 88: 283–294.Google Scholar