Heart Rate (HR) and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) each indicate aspects of physical and mental functioning. Compared to Low HR, High HR indicates the person has more ENERGY. HRV, the change in the interval between heart beats, is a measure of CONTROL. Greater variability produces greater CONTROL. When we consider these variables simultaneously, we can assess the degree of ALIGNMENT in one’s nervous system. The chart below shows nine combinations of ENERGY and CONTROL. When aligned, CONTROL is proportional to ENERGY. We can think of ENERGY as the accelerator of a car, and CONTROL as the brake. More braking is required at high speeds than low speeds. Having too much or too little braking creates an unbalanced, unaligned nervous condition.
The chart describes the features of nine ENERGY and CONTROL level combinations. The right top of the chart (Cell 9), is a condition of High Energy and High Control. This is an aligned state exemplified, for example, by a race car driver who can go fast enough to win the race without getting in an accident.
In contrast, the bottom right (Cell 3) is High Energy and Low Control— a fast driver with no brakes. It is also characteristic of serious mental disorders such high anxiety, bipolar mania, and PTSD. Also, this condition is associated with somatoform or psychosomatic disorders—where mental problems and physical problems cause each other due to misalignment of mind and body. Cell 6 is a state with Average Control and High Energy. This is a mild form of non-alignment with a happy result. Good enough control with an extra buzz. Similarly, Cell 4 represents good enough control but with less energy than Cell 6. The result is a non-serious, negative mood or dysthymia.
Low Energy with Low Control (Cell 1) is not as dangerous a condition as Cell 3 (Hi Energy/Low Control). It is characterized by vegetative depression– oversleeping and not enjoying life. While depression is no fun, one is unlikely to cause much self-harm when sleeping all day. Suicide, a not all too infrequent result of depression, usually takes more energy than that existing in the Cell 1. Cell 2 means more Energy than Cell 1 combined with Low Control, a so-called agitated depression. I think suicide is more likely in agitated depressions than vegetative depressions. Cell 7 is a condition with High Control and Low Energy. Older and sick people with relatively less energy than in youth can use High Control to make the most of small amount of energy. This is like coasting downhill and removing the brakes.
The Body-Mind Reader gives feedback about the Energy and Control states one is in moment to moment. Body and mind alignment changes more or less quickly. Few users of The Body-Mind Reader will be especially depressed or manic while using the device. We believe that Low Control only results in frank psychological and somatic disorders if it is accompanied by cognitive habits such as self criticism, obsessions, paranoia, denial of reality, and lack of social skills. Otherwise, short lived episodes of low control are a normal feature of our dynamically changing bodies and minds.