HeartMath emWave2 - Playing Video Games

Gear: emWave2.

The emWave2 is meant to be used for "training" yourself to develop self-control.  Because of this control we can improve mental performance.  Most of the sessions I have published involve tasks of simple concentration, slight distractions through visual/audio, and writing. This new session involves playing a video game.

The image above and and the HRV charts below are the result of playing Ghost Recon Online, without putting a major emphasis in self-control.  This is what my body does when it plays video games.


The results point heart rate of 80.  Coherence of  low (67%), med (19%), and high (14%), were recorded.  These results compared to previous sessions demonstrate a degrading of "good" scores.  In a way gaming is causing some stress.  During the 20 minutes of gameplay I only managed to get 21 seconds of continuous high coherence.  What's even more surprising is that I did poorly during the game (placed on the bottom scores of the squad).  The next session shows the results while controlling my breathing.

The image above and the charts below show the results of 20 minutes of gaming, while trying to control breathing.  Initially I thought that by putting some focus on breathing I would do poorly in-game, however I did well (3rd in one round, and 1st in the next).  The heart rate dropped from 80 to 78, coherence ratios improved, and the single continuous high coherence was 44 seconds (23 more than the previous session).

Coherence levels compared.  The first number is what would be the "normal" scores, the second is what I achieved trying to control my breathing when playing the video game.
  •  Low 
    • 67%
    • 52%
  •  Med 
    • 19%
    • 27%
  •  High 
    • 14%
    • 21%
While the changes are not entirely drastic, there are several improvements.


The HRV chart above show periods of intense activity, and then periods of "rest."  When my digital-self found itself confronting a dire situation the heart increased activity, but it was easier to bring down the rate when the situation intensity decreased.



While the emWave2 is intended to be used in a "training" way, I don't think the function should be exclusive to only that task.  To me, everyday tasks are more important than simply "meditating."  Exercising self-control in normal everyday activities are the "real improvements" I'm seeking.  By having the emWave2 I can now track most things by using the ear sensor.

I learned the importance of self-control while being in the Marines.  For distance runs it is better to have a steady pace than run variably with sprints and slow downs.  The oxygen provided by the lungs have an effect in the entirety of the body (heart, muscles, brain, etc).

While these days I do more "desk jobs" than the "very physical" tasks I can see that reminding myself of taking good deep breaths will improve performance.  But in case I forget to practice self-control, the emWave2 is a good method of establishing the habit.

Published: Jan 12, 2013

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Hi. My name is Jesse, and I'm a technology enthusiast. I play with technology and share what I find on this blog. If you have any questions then please use the contact form below. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.


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