Published on March 2, 2014
Zen and the art of the quantified self Gary Monk Presentation includes speaker notes on slides
firstname.lastname@example.org @garymonk garywmonk email@example.com
Presentation available on You Tube http://youtu.be/V0N4kp1fZlU
Tech Health Obsessed Obsessed
Tech Obsessed QS Health Obsessed My interest in Quantified Self stems from mutual obsessions with Health and Technology
One of the goals was to develop more ‘mind control’ re: stressed or negative thoughts and develop more periods of calm and be ‘in the moment’ even during pressured times
Another objective was to increase energy levels by being more present and focused
Objectives • • • • Be more present Slow down and gain perspective Increase control over my thinking Have more energy!
Part of this study involved dedicated time to meditate and also trying to engage in mindfulness while working or engaged in other activities
Heart Rate Variability
Heart Rate Variability The principle behind this research is something called Heart Rate Variability – or HRV. Our heart rates vary to differing degrees. If our heart rate in a given minute is 60 it is unlikley the interval between each beat is exactly 1 second. When we are more relaxed the variability is greater
Heart Rate Variability
Heart Rate Variability When we are frustrated or stressed the heart rate varies in a very chaotic way When we are relaxed and appreciating life the variability is smooth like a sine wave and is known as being coherent
Heart Rate Variability So how do we improve our HRV and get into a coherent state? Thinking positive thoughts are important but the biggest key is regular and rhythmic breathing
I used an iphone app called inner balance from a company called Heartmath. The HRV measurements were taken via an earpiece. This was slightly obvious and a lot of people asked me what I was doing. Getting your HRV in the green zone is ideal. The units of measurement are coherence. These are not exactly defined but relative. My normal at rest was around 1 and I was trying to improve this
Objectives • Be more present • Slow down and gain perspective • Increase control over my thinking Use Rhythmic Breathing Heart Rate Variability biofeedback to achieve this, during everyday tasks
I used a number of different methods to regulate my breathing • A Visual pacer on my iphone • A pre-recorded Audioloop • A tactile system that vibrated
72615 4841 mins 40+ mins p/d I recorded a metronome on a loop instructing myself to breath in and breath out every 4 seconds and listened to this while I was at work. I did this for 4841 minutes (around 80 hrs) or 40 mins per day. This was 72,615 breathing commands to be precise! 80+ hrs
I got sick of my own voice – I needed another method. I used a pacing app that vibrated every 4 seconds and tied it to my wrist with a sock. Not exactly elegant but it worked!
Method 7.5 BPM I got a lot of data. I breathed in and out every 4 seconds equating to 7.5 breaths per minute. I did this for a total of 10324 mins or 170 hours with the sensor attached to my ear. This equated to 328 data points Control vs rhythmic breathing 120 Days Work & Life Tasks 10324 Mins 328 DPs Coherence & relaxation scores
Method I recorded my activity type, if my breathing was focused or natural, the duration, how I felt and my scores from the device, in a table
Working f-work is with focus on my breathing. My coherence score was significantly higher with the breathing focus 3.5 2.9 3 2.5 2 1.5 1.1 1 0.5 0 work f-work Average Coherence score
Working 8 7 I also felt more relaxed with the focused breathing (on a 10 point scale) taken after each measurement 7.6 6.5 6 5 work 4 f-work 2.9 3 2 1.1 1 0 Relaxation score Coherence score
Relaxing Even when not working, focused breathing improved my HRV levels 3.5 3.0 3 2.5 2 1.5 1.3 1 0.5 0 relax f-relax Average Coherence score
And also increased my relaxation levels further Relaxing 9 8 8 7.3 7 6 5 relax 4 f-relax 3 3 2 1.3 1 0 Relaxation score Coherence score
Using the device increased my HRV score even when meditating Meditating 4.5 4.2 4 3.5 3 2.5 2.1 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 meditate f-meditate Average Coherence score
And also increased my relaxation score Meditating 9 8.2 8 7.8 7 6 5 4.2 4 3 2.1 2 1 0 Relaxation score Coherence score meditate f-meditate
Summary 9 8 7 8.2 8 7.6 7.8 7.3 6.5 6 5 4.2 4 Coherence 3.0 2.9 3 2.1 2 1.3 1.1 1 0 work f-work relax f-relax Relax meditate f-meditate
Using the vibration versus audio method of synching my breathing was almost equivalent in effectiveness. (Slightly higher for the vibration approach) Hear versus Touch 9.0 8.0 8.0 7.7 7.6 8.2 7.9 8.0 7.0 6.0 5.1 5.0 4.1 4.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 2.9 2.7 3.0 3.3 Relax Coherence
Time spent in the various domains Hear versus Touch Focus-Visualise Audio-Relax Audio-Work Audio-Meditation Touch-Relax Touch Work Touch Meditation Non-Focus-Relax Non-Focus-Work Non-Focus-Meditation
Time spent in the various domains 3 dominated Hear versus Touch Focus-Visualise Audio-Relax 3 9 Audio-Work Audio-Meditation Touch-Relax 5 8 Touch Work Touch Meditation Non-Focus-Relax Non-Focus-Work 2 3 Non-Focus-Meditation
There was a correlation between increased HRV and relaxation during meditation Meditation – relaxed versus coherence 9.0 8.0 7.0 6.0 5.0 4.0 7.5 8.0 8.4 1 to 1.9 2 to 2.9 3+ 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0
My behaviour changed, increasing dedicated time for meditation Meditation No time? Meditation Minutes / week 450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Week 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
The challenges • Data entry & device integration I spent a lot of time taking data from the device and my own data, putting it into 1 place and analysing it
Key conclusions • I can consistently raise my HRV while working (and living) • An increased HRV corresponds with greater relaxation levels • ‘touch’ synchronisation of breath at least as good as ‘audio’ • It has been a great tool to ‘relax’ & focus at work • It has changed my behaviour – dedicated meditation time • I feel great!
Future research • EEG readings, Focus, concentration, working memory • Blood Pressure effects • Quantify other life metrics (e.g. centredness) • Sleep data
Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org @garymonk garywmonk email@example.com
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