Tag Archives: stress

Hear Rate Variability and Stress: Learn from Paul LaFontaine at QS15

PLF_StressSessions

Join us at our upcoming QS15 Global Conference and Exposition on March 13-15 in San Francisco to learn how heart rate variability can indicate how relaxed or stressed you feel when meeting with other people.

PaulLFWe’re pleased to have a self described heart rate variability hacker and veteran QS’er Paul LaFontaine share how he uses heart rate variability readings to improve his effectiveness when engaging in discussion with others. Paul used off the shelf technology including a Polar Heart Rate Belt and a Heart Rate Variability Logger app to record his heart rhythms during different stressful and relaxing activities.  Once he had these baseline readings, he compared them to hundreds of hours of meetings to find patterns in the data and to pinpoint what was associated with relaxed, productive discussions or stressful, less productive interactions. Some of the source of stress may surprise you!

Paul’s Heart Rate Variability session is just one of the many hands-on, up-to-date, expertly moderated sessions we’re planning for the QS15 Global Conference and Exposition. This year, QS15 is going to be two full days of self-tracking talks, demos, and in depth discussion, followed by a third day for a grand public exposition of the latest self-tracking tools. Join us at the Fort Mason Center on the San Francisco Waterfront. We’ve made some early bird tickets available for readers of the Quantified Self blog (for a limited time): Register here!

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Steve Zadig: Life in the Fast Lane

Steve Zadig is the COO of Vital Connect, but when he’s not busy with his job he’s out racing high performance vehicles. In this talk, presented at our 2013 Global Conference, Steve explains how he uses data to help him achieve his racing goals.

What did Steve do?
Steve wanted to get more information about how his body was reacting during racing. Frustrated that he was getting a lot of diagnostic data from his car and not any from himself he sought to track different biometrics to see what he could learn about what happens while he’s behind the wheel.

How did he do it?
Steve wore a Vital Connect patch to record and transmit his respiration rate, heart rate, and stress levels while he was was racing.

What did he learn?
After the race Steve was able to match the data with specific points and events during the race. He learned how something major, like spinning out of control, caused a large spike in stress, and how when he’s feeling in the zone his body responds with a lower heart and breathing rate.

“It’s about knowing. It’s about the knowledge of what’s happening with your body and how to deal with that.”

The QS15 Conference and Exposition is fast approaching. We invite you attend and give show&tell talks just like this one about your tracking and personal data experiences.

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Paul LaFontaine: Upset Every Other Minute

How many times during the course of the day do you find your mental state drifting into negativity, feeling like you’re lost, or just plain stressed? How could you even keep track of this, and why would you want to?

PaulLF_upsets

What Did Paul Do?
Paul LaFontaine has been tracking what he calls “upsets” to better understand himself, the way he works, and to see if he can improve his mental and physiological response and recovery.

Upsets are something physiological that were happening beneath the surface, and they’re trackable. It didn’t have to be emotional, but there had to be a signal. This project is part of an longer ongoing study. Before this current iteration I manually logged over 3,000 upsets and what I found is that most of my upsets were self-induced. I’d be in a calm environment, but then become upset about something. I wanted to use technology because I was afraid of bias and I know I was missing some upsets.

How Did He Do It?

I used the HeartMath EMWave2 that measures heart rate variability and indicates when you’re in and out of coherence. When I was out of coherence I captured that as an upset. I would stop what I was doing and use an audio recorder to keep track of the time, how long I was upset, the reason, and what method I used to recover. I tracked 71 sessions (each session was 25-45 minutes) totaling 42 hours of tracking time. I logged 1292 upsets during this period.

What Did He Learn?
Paul analyzed his data and found some very interesting insights about his upsets, his reasons for being upset, and the effectiveness of his recovery techniques.

I found that I was triggering an upset every 2 minutes. My wife said something must be wrong with me, but this stayed relatively constant through the tracking period. I started to think of it like skiing a mogul course. The moguls didn’t move, it was about how effective I could move through them. And, dealing with upsets is like playing whack-a-mole. They come fast and furious and every second counts.

For recovery I was able to find that my most effective technique was breathing. By returning to six breaths per minute routine I was able to improve recovery time from 33 seconds to 17.8 seconds. It was the primary way I could remove myself from being upset and make myself calmer.

We want to thank Paul for presenting this great QS project at the Bay Area QS Meetup group. Make sure to watch the full talk below to learn more about Paul’s methods and findings, then hop over to his website where you can read about how he tracked his stress during this talk.

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Paul LaFontaine: We Never Fight on Wednesday

Paul LaFontaine was interested in understanding his anxiety and negative emotional states. What was causing them? When were they happening? What could he do to combat them? Using TapLog, a simple Android-based tracking app (with easy data export), Paul tracked these mental events for six months as well as the triggers associated with each one. In this talk, presented at the 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference, Paul dives deep in to the data to show how he was able to learn how different triggers were related to his anxiety and stress. While exploring his data, he also discovered a few surprising and profound insights. Watch his great talk below to learn more!

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Ajay Chandler on Measuring the Moment

Ajay Chandler wanted to understand the connection between his mindfulness and daily stress. Luckily he works at Fujitsu and was able to use their Sprout service to connect multiple data streams and analyze the results. Watch this short Ignite talks to learn about Ajay’s experience.

We’ll be posting videos from our 2013 Global Conference during the next few months. If you’d like see talks like this in person we invite you to join us in Amsterdam for our 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference on May 10 and 11th.

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Steven Jonas on Tracking Stress

We’ve showcased a few great talks from Steven Jonas, from his exploration on learning to how he became interested in tracking stress. In this insightful talk Steven walk us through his process for tracking and responding to his stress in realtime while at work.

Low-level, seemingly mild stress still drains my energy, and many of my behaviors and things that I avoid are related to this stress. I developed a new ‘stress sense’, separate from the tool, that helped me see where my life was being affected by stress.

This talk was filmed at our 2013 Quantified Self European Conference. We hope that you’ll join us this year for our 2013 Global Conference where we’ll have great talks, sessions, and discussions that cover the wide range of Quantified Self topics. Registration is now open so make sure to get your ticket today!

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Steven Jonas: Tracking My Stress

We are only four short weeks away from hosting our second Quantified Self European Conference and our excitement is building as we receive more previews of the talks and presentations we’ll be hosting. As you can probably guess, putting on a conference can be a stressful endeavor. Luckily stress tracking and management has been the focus of many different Quantified Self tools and experiments. There are no shortage of interesting methods for tracking both the physiological and psychological manifestations of stress and many more are probably on the horizon. More interesting, and of great interest to us within the QS community, is what is possible once stress becomes trackable and understandable.

Steve JonasSteven Jonas, a data analyst and organizer for the QS Portland meetup, will be giving a Show & Tell talk about his experiences with tracking stress at our upcoming conference. Having started with tracking his sleep in 2005, Steven has gone on to engage with multiple tracking projects including his experience with knowledge tracking and spaced repetition.

He’s been tracking his stress levels using the Emwave2, a neat tool for tracking and visualizing heart rate variability, for quite a while. Steven has taken his stress/HRV tracking beyond just intermittent testing and has experimented with hooking up his EmWave2 to his computer while working and installed software to alert him when it detect periods of stress. You can watch his previous talk about this process here.

This may seem like overkill to some. You might be saying, “Of course work is related to stress! What possibly could he hope to find out?” The beauty here lies in the unexpected and interesting findings that creep to the surface when multiple data streams are integrated. In this Show & Tell talk Steven will be explaining how this constant monitoring helped him understand how particular behaviors acted as triggers and how he could manage those triggers in order to reduce and defuse stress.

Low-level, seemingly mild stress still drains my energy, and many of my behaviors and things that I avoid are related to this stress. I developed a new ‘stress sense’, separate from the tool, that helped me see where my life was being affected by stress.

I hope you’ll join us at the conference to learn from Steven’s experience and take part in what is sure to be a great discussion!

The Quantified Self European Conference will be held in Amsterdam on May 11th & 12th. Registration is now open. As with all our conferences our speakers are members of the community. If you’re attending the conference and want to present your self-tracking project please let us know.

 

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Dave Marvit on Tracking Stress and PTSD

In this short Ignite talk, Dave Marvit from Fujitsu Labs of America talks about a prototype system he is developing to track stress and monitoring stressful events in veterans with PTSD. The Sprout system brings in and syncs multiple data streams allowing researchers, clinicians, and individuals to develop a deeper insight into what’s really happening during stress events. Make sure to listen to the end for a surprise twist from Dave when he talks about using the system to measure his stress while driving to work. (Filmed at the 2012 QS Conference.)

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QS PDX Recap (October 30, 2012)

This guest post comes to us from one of our wonderful QS Meetup organizers, Steven Jonas. If you’re a Meetup Organizer and want to post a recap of your meetup just let us know!

Quantified Self Portland Show & Tell Meetup Recap – October 30, 2012

Puppet Labs opened up their space and generously hosted our October Meetup. We had some amazing talks and discussion. Read on for more about each of the talks and our post show&tell discussion session.

David Gwilliam – Text Message Analytics

David GwilliamVIDEO | SLIDES | TWITTER

Brief: After getting dumped, David needed an excuse to read his old text messages. Exporting all of his SMS’s out of Google Voice, he used a variety of tools to get them in a form that would allow for linguistic analysis and visualization. Doing so, he reconfirmed his belief that most of his communication was either to girls or about girls. As his project moves forward, he wants to improve the linguistic analysis by looking at significant phrases, rather than words, and tweak his D3 visualization so that it better represents clustering.

Tools and other things mentioned:

-His GitHub page for his project – http://github.com/dhgwilliam/google-voice-stats
-Twitter page – http://twitter.com/dhgwilliam
-Google Voice – google.com/voice
-Google Takeout – google.com/takeout
-Data Liberation Front – www.dataliberation.org/takeout-products
-Markdown – http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/
-Redis – http://redis.io
-Ohm ORM – http://ohm.keyvalue.org
-Sinatra – http://www.sinatrarb.com
-Statistically Improbable Phrases – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistically_Improbable_Phrases
-Rack Cache – http://github.com/rtomayko/rack-cache
-Resque – http://github.com/defunkt/resque
-Rake – http://rake.rubyforge.org
-GCharts – http://mootools.net/forge/p/gcharts
-Pandoc – http://johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc/
-D3 – http://d3js.org
-jQuery -http://jquery.com
-Linguistic analysis equation – http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/~paul/publications/rg_acl2000.pdf

Rob Shields – Search Your Life

Rob Shields

VIDEO | SLIDES | TWITTER

Brief: Rob was interested in passively recording his life, so he rigged his phone to hang around his neck and take a picture nearly every minute. He dumped the photos into Picasa and with tagging and face recognition used them to start answering questions such as “When did I last have sushi?” and “What was the name of that guy I met at the QS Data Co-op?” Rob found that knowing that the phone was recording events, it allowed him to be more present in the moment, since he didn’t have to worry about retrieving a camera to capture events. Going forward, he would like to have ways to add more metadata (like geotagging) to add context to the images that he captures, a wider lens, and be able to integrate it with other streams of data.

Tools and other things mentioned:

-Gordon Bell’s SenseCam – http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/cambridge/projects/sensecam/
-Autographer – http://www.autographer.com/
-Memoto – http://memoto.com
-Project Glass – http://plus.google.com/+projectglass/posts
-Google Goggles – http://www.google.com/mobile/goggles/
-TagTime – http://messymatters.com/tagtime/
-Picasa -http://picasa.google.com
-Vicon Revue – http://viconrevue.com/product.html

Steven Jonas – Stressing Out Loud

Steven Jonas

VIDEO* | SLIDES | TWITTER

*from the QS Seattle meetup a week earlier

Brief: Steven discovered through an EEG assessment that he had a strong “freeze” response to stressful situations. This inspired him to use his emWave to monitor his stress levels, hack it to alert him whenever he got too stressed, and change his patterns at work. He found that keeping his stress levels in check allowed him to focus better and left him with more energy at the end of the day. Going forward, he would like to find a tool that allows him to annotate the data, and be able to track stress when he’s not at his desk.

Tools and other things mentioned:

-emWave2 – http://www.heartmathstore.com/item/6310/emwave2
-equanimity – http://www.meditate.mx/iphone

Daniel Reeves – Beeminder update

Daniel Reeves

TWITTER*

*sorry, no video

Brief: Daniel gave us an update on Beeminder, highlighting new functionality for connecting the great project management tool, Trello, as well as using Beeminder to keep track of your progress during NaNoWriMo. He also talked about a Pomodoro Poker, a hack night where participants bet on how close they can complete a task to a time limit (without going over).

Tools and other things mentioned:

-Beeminder – http://www.beeminder.com
-Trello – http://blog.beeminder.com/trello/
-NaNoWriMo – http://blog.beeminder.com/nanowrimo/
-Pomodoro Poker – http://blog.beeminder.com/tv/#comment-691153967

Discussion

discussionPrompt: One of the interesting things about self-tracking is the heightened awareness that you’ll gain. Noticing things that you could never perceive before. This could take different forms, sometimes like a sixth sense. For example, this is a device I built from a kit made by Sensebridge that attaches to your ankle and points in the direction of north. Over time, the wearers develop of sense of where North is that lasts even after they remove the device. Are these extra senses always good? Can they be negative?

Tools and other things mentioned:

-Sensebridge’s North Paw – http://sensebridge.net/projects/northpaw/
-Contour @USB – http://bayercontourusb.us
-Zeo – http://www.myzeo.com/sleep/shop/zeo-sleep-manager-mobile.html

Drinks afterward at Deschutes Brewery

The night ended with a lively discussion where the main topic was productivity systems where everybody shared what they use, what failed for them and why.

What’s Up Next?

All in all, it was a fantastic, invigorating evening. We hope to see you at the Data Co-op on November 27. What is a Data Co-op? It’s a regular part of our QS PDX meetup series for people with data that they’re working on, or people who want to see what data other people are working on, or people who want/have tips for working their QS-related data. If you track some kind of data about your life and are trying to make sense of it, join us during this open time and bring your data and a computer with you.

Topics that arose last time:

D3 and data visualization (http://d3js.org/)

Wolfram Alpha and analysis of meditation data

Scraping Nike FuelBand data with Firefox

And, of course, people brought dozens of projects with them to work on, and many ideas were shared in small groups. We plan on hosting the next Show & Tell in January and hope to see you soon!

Pictures courtesy of Ryan Casey. See more here.

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Catherine Kerr on Cortical Measures in Mindfulness Meditation

Catherine Kerr does brain science related to mindfulness at Brown University Medical School. She points out that mindfulness traditions ask practitioners to simply focus closely on body sensations in order to bring attention to the present moment. Why does this help with depression? In the video below, Catherine explains some of her magnetoencephalopathy (MEG) research to answer this question, and suggests that detecting cortical changes may be one of the earliest, instinctive QS-related forms of self-awareness. (Filmed by the Boston QS Show&Tell meetup group.)

Catherine Kerr – Cortical Measures Related to Attending to the Body in Mindfulness Meditation from Gary Wolf on Vimeo.

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