Surprising Benefits of Coherence Meditation that Change Lives

8 Surprising Benefits of Coherence Meditation that Change Lives

Dr. Patti Shelton, MD

Manage stress | After waking up | Before meditation | Before bed | At work | As a family | For kids | Longevity | References

In our previous article, we discussed the many benefits of being in a state of heart coherence and practical things we can do to get there. Indeed, getting into a state of high coherence can bring powerful changes in a person’s life, and in many cases, it doesn’t take long to start feeling some of the benefits. If you tried the breathing technique we went over or used the heartMath sensor and app, chances are you have already experienced some positive changes.

Now, most people practice coherence by themselves at home. Clearly, that is a convenient and easy way of doing so. This, however, is not the only option. In fact, there are other situations where getting into a state of coherence can have a profound effect on you and those around you. On the flip side, there are scenarios where coherence training may seem like a great idea initially, but there are a few nuances to consider for the best results.

8 times where practicing coherence changes lives

Here are some examples where practicing coherence can make a big difference in your life. Keep in mind, some of these uses can be very personal and specific. Allow yourself enough time to experiment until you find what works best for you.

1 – When you are stressed out

The modern world has many potential sources of stress, and sometimes it can be challenging to shift our mindset into a calmer state when we feel anxious or when something stressful happens.

Getting into heart coherence can be a great way to help you shift into a calmer and more centered state of mind. In fact, this is actually the first place that many people think to begin with their coherence training.

However, while this can definitely be very beneficial, it may not be the best way when you’re first starting out. During this early phase, you’re learning how to enter a state of coherence. It may be more challenging to get into coherence when you’re feeling very stressed or experiencing difficult emotions like anger.

Instead, it may be easier to use your coherence sensor for the first few times when you’re calmer, relaxed, or at least not overly stressed. This will help you learn how high coherence feels and what techniques work best to shift into that state. You’ll then have the tools and skills to use during more difficult moments. Knowing how to shift from a state of stress and overwhelm into a state of gratitude and appreciation is invaluable for your happiness as well as your health.

2 – First thing in the morning

Practicing coherence right after waking up may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, getting into coherence early in the morning can have a carryover effect which may benefit your other activities later in the day.

What’s the carryover effect? When you go into a state of high coherence, there are clear benefits during the session itself, but those benefits don’t end when you finish your training. They tend to carry over into your next activities. This allows you to start your day in a flow state, which will set you up for greater creativity and productivity, including a more positive mindset throughout the day.

In addition, looking at your HRV and coherence score first thing in the morning can give you an idea of how refreshing your sleep was.

As we mentioned in our last article, many people check their heart rate first thing in the morning to keep tabs on their heart health. While there’s value in doing so, heart rate measurement only shows the average. It ignores important information about beat-to-beat variability (HRV), which you can see when you practice coherence in the morning with the heartMath sensor and app.

3 – Before meditation

Practicing a coherence technique before you meditate may sound a little counterintuitive. Isn’t coherence training the same as meditating?

In some ways, they’re similar. Both meditation and coherence training often bring people into an open and clear state of mind. So, by doing a coherence session alone, you may get many of the benefits meditation has to offer.

However, if you do coherence training before you start meditating, you may find that the carryover effect also applies here. You can get into a meditative state more easily and may stay there longer and with less effort. If there’s a particular meditation technique that you like or want to use, but you struggle to get into the right state, then a session of coherence training before meditation might be helpful for you.

4 – Before bed

Another fantastic time to practice a coherence session is just before you sleep. This may be particularly beneficial for people who find it hard to shut off their minds once they get into bed.

By shifting into a state of high coherence, it may be easier to let go of any thought loops and enter a more peaceful state. Some people even report that their dreams are more enjoyable after they’ve practiced coherence before bed. It’s definitely plausible since your state of mind just before you fall asleep can have a significant impact on your dreams.

The main downside of this idea, however, is that you need to look at a screen to do the training. Because the light from a screen can interfere with your melatonin production, this might be an issue. To help address this concern, you can set the brightness on your screen to its very lowest level. You can also use a blue light filter app or blue light glasses.

Once you’ve tried it a few times, you’ll be able to get a sense of whether it’s having an overall positive or negative effect on your sleep. If the screen seems to be an issue, you can still benefit from doing a coherence session without the app. Especially if you have already done enough coherence training.

If you are still new to coherence, you can always try and activate feelings of gratitude and appreciation right before you go to sleep, which is always beneficial, even without the biofeedback component.

5 – Before a business meeting

For many of us, our meditation practices are something personal that we keep separate from our business or professional life. However, it’s definitely worth considering bringing coherence into the workplace.

In fact, in our longevIQ podcast episode with Dr. Deborah Rozman, the CEO of HeartMath, she shared that in heartMath, they often open meetings with just a few minutes of a coherence session. They discovered that the meetings tend to go more smoothly, and as a result, they’re significantly shorter.

Practicing coherence together allows people to be more calm and centered. They can focus on their shared goals as a team rather than competing with each other or pushing their own agendas. It also reduces the external stress that each person may bring into the meeting.

Of course, not all businesses (or teams) will be open to the idea of starting a meeting with a couple of minutes of meditation or coherence training. You’ll have to decide whether this might work for you, depending on the work culture that you find yourself in.

If your team doesn’t consider it, you can always do the coherence training by yourself in your office before you start the meeting. But if you think your team might be open to the idea, try mentioning that it can make meetings more efficient and, therefore, shorter. That’s something that almost everyone wants, so they may be willing to try something new to help achieve it.

6 – At a family gathering

Like businesses, many people haven’t considered practicing coherence at family events. However, this can be very helpful. When you’re gathering as a family (for example, for a holiday dinner), it’s common for people to start bickering. Old arguments and resentments may surface, and people may find it difficult to let these go.

A short coherence session can help everyone become more centered, making them less likely to start fighting. A session of meditating together can have a similar effect, but there are some families where this doesn’t work. When everyone closes their eyes, they could simply start rehearsing what they’ll say to the people they’re mad at. By contrast, with coherence training, they’ll actually shift their state of mind and get into a state of coherence.

7 – Coherence training for kids

There are actually several reasons why kids might benefit from coherence training. For example, when kids are being bullied in school. The stress of a situation like this can be considerable, and coherence training can help kids become more resilient and give them more tools to assess and respond to these situations in a calm way.

Even without a severe stressor like bullying, many kids feel a lot of pressure from the modern school system that pushes them to work harder and achieve more at younger ages. Coherence training can help them learn to manage such stress so that they don’t burn out[1].

Additionally, teaching kids to manage stress when they’re young can help them become more resilient throughout their adult lives. This is a great skill to have that will serve them well for years to come.

8 – Coherence for longevity and healthy aging

At LongevIQ, we frequently interview experts in the fields of longevity and anti-aging. They all share the same message – stress causes us to age faster. Even small stresses add up over time, causing damage to the body and increasing the risk of age-related diseases. Each individual stressful event might not seem like much, but when they compound over time, their impact is magnified.

This is why learning to manage stress can have such a huge impact on your overall health, well-being, and longevity. When you learn how to shift into a state of coherence instead of remaining in a state of overwhelm and anxiety, it will make a difference. And it may not take long to start seeing the benefits. Just a few weeks of heartMath coherence training was shown to lower cortisol by 23% and increase DHEA by 100%[2].

Final thoughts

The first time you try coherence training, it may take a while to get into a state of coherence. However, it will get easier and easier over time. In fact, you’ll likely find that you don’t even need the biofeedback so much, although many people find it useful to continue using it, at least from time to time.

Whether you choose to use a coherence sensor or practice coherence without one, learning to shift your nervous system into a calm and relaxed state will pay huge benefits, both in the moment and over the long term.

For many people who may have struggled with meditation, biofeedback coherence training such as heartMath may be the difference between giving up on meditation and enjoying such a powerful health-promoting practice.

  1. May RW, Seibert GS, Sanchez-Gonzalez MA, Fincham FD. Self-regulatory biofeedback training: an intervention to reduce school burnout and improve cardiac functioning in college students. Stress. 2019 Jan;22(1):1-8. doi: 10.1080/10253890.2018.1501021. Epub 2018 Oct 20. PMID: 30345850.
  2. McCraty, R., Barrios-Choplin, B., Rozman, D. et al. The impact of a new emotional self-management program on stress, emotions, heart rate variability, DHEA and cortisol. Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science 33, 151–170 (1998).

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