Heart rate increases when our body needs more oxygen. Exercise, excitement or nervousness, certain medical conditions as well as some drugs can all increase heart rate abnormally. A condition called supraventicular tachycardia is often responsible for increased heart rate due to extra electrical signals from the top part of the heart. A racing heart is not a life threatening problem, but it can cause many hormonal changes as well as discomfort to the sufferer. If you are looking for ways to calm down your heart, try the following techniques:
1. Deep breathing exercises
Deep, slow breathing is the easiest way to lower pulse rate when nervous. Sit or stand in a quiet place, close your eyes and focus all of your attention on your breath. Breathe in slowly, steadily and deeply. You can even hold the breath after inhalation. Counting numbers during inhaling and exhaling can also help. For example, count slowly to 6 while breathing in, count slowly to 4 while holding the breath and again count to 6 slowly as you exhale. Repeat several times until you start feeling calm. This method will lower the heart rate quickly. Remember: it is not enough to merely breathe-you have to breathe in very deeply until you cannot get any more air inside of you.
2. Valsalva maneuver
The Valsalva maneuver is an effective technique to slow down heart rate on coke or in supraventicular tachycardia patients. Here are the steps:
- Take a very deep breath in
- Close both nostrils by pinching them with the fingers
- Also close the mouth shut and strain as if you are having a bowel movement
- Keep the strain for a few seconds (ideally as long as you can hold the breath)
- Release the air slowly.
- Repeat a couple of times then relax.
Note that this maneuver can make you feel lightheaded.
3. Cool down your face!
Getting some cold air or water on the face is an easy way to lower heart rate during exercise. You could stand in front of (or underneath) a fan or fill up a basin with cold water and immerse your face in it. Make sure you take a deep breath in before using these techniques. Alternatively, place a packet of cold vegetables or frozen pack on the face. Likewise, keeping a cool cloth on the face can also do the trick.
4. Get a cold drink
Sipping on a cold drink is another proven method of lowering heart rate during exercise. Make sure the liquid you choose is ice cold. Avoid anything too sugary as sugar tends to make your heart beat faster.
5. Foods to lower heart rate
Many foods are known to lower heart rate immediately. Omega 3 fatty acids found in walnuts, salmon, sardines and mackerel can directly impact heart rate and lower it. You can also snack on other nuts as well as on vegetables and fruits high in potassium such as bananas and avocados. These are all known to lower heart rate considerably.
6. Trigger the gag reflex
Gagging is a surprisingly easy way to slow down heart rate on coke. Simply put a finger or two at the back of the throat and make yourself gag. Do not do this on a full stomach.
7. Practice makes perfect
You must practice the above methods several times a day to see best results, especially if you suffer from accelerated heart rate frequently through the day. You might want to try out each method 2-3 times before implementing the one that works. Once you get good results with any of the methods, you can implement the same the next time your heart races.
8. Keep a journal
If your heart rate rises several times a day, you might want to keep an entry of the symptoms and trigger factors that set your heart racing. What were you doing/eating/thinking that got your heart rate up? Show the record to your doctor. If you have supraventicular tachycardia, your doctor might prescribe medicines to lower heart rate. The choice of treatment will depend on your age, symptoms and results of stress test.
9. Seek medical help
If your heart rate remains very high for more than 20 minutes, seek medical help immediately. Have a friend or family member drive you to the emergency center to have your heart checked.
We hope these easy methods help you slow down your racing heart.