How Monitoring My Heart-Rate Helps Me Manage Misophonia

Heart-rate monitors are all the rage nowadays. Fitbits, The Galaxy Smart Watch Collection (I have a Galaxy Watch Active that I freaking love), Garmin, and other “smart-watch” devices are used by fitness gurus for numerous reasons. I personally use mine for my misophonia. If that sounds a little crazy to you, let me explain. The heart-rate function is what I’m most focused on for my smartwatch (although the other features like answering texts, facebook messages, and using spotify from it aren’t drawbacks). There are often cheap heart-rate monitors at CVS, or on Amazon.

My heart-rate monitor legitimizes misophonia to people who don’t understand it’s a real disorder

Aside from the look in horror on our faces when confronted with misophonia, it’s largely an indivisible disorder. When I wear my heart-monitor, I have real-time data that can be used to show when I am triggered. This might sound a little strange but I have actually used this in real life scenarios. I have shown my father and my boyfriend my heart-rate monitor whilst triggered and the astronomically high number (120 compared to my normal 60-70) actually has convinced them that I am not over-reacting. There is a very real physiological response to misophonia and when triggered my heart-rate goes so high that I’ve felt dizziness before. This number on a watch is a helpful way to show people that misophonia is a very real condition.

Knowing my heart-rate lets me know when it’s time to get out.

Sensory information is cumulative. The more we are exposed to triggers, the worse the reaction gets. Not leaving the situation can cause way more distress than necessary. I have learned when my heart-rate gets to 115 that I need to get out of the situation before it escalates further. Once my heart-rate reaches 120+ it will take much longer to calm down. I can usually stay in a situation if my heart-rate doesn’t go over 90bpm. By paying attention to your own heart-rate and learning what your resting heart-rate is, you can find out the data that guides your own personal fight/flight system. Everybody’s resting/triggered heart-rates are different so take some time to let the monitor give you data (ie. learn your resting heart-rate over a period of time).

Your heart-rate can let you know if you’re still triggered or if you’re having an emotional response.

Once your trigger is over, you might still feel negative feelings toward the sound. Sometimes people believe it takes much longer to “calm down” than it really does, because they are having an emotional response to the trigger. By identifying whether or not it is an emotional response (is your heart-rate back to normal? If so, this is emotional, not physiological), or if it is still a “trigger”. If you are having an emotional response, you can then react by using calming techniques that are helpful for anxiety such as breathing techniques or finding something to calm yourself. A heart-rate monitor is a helpful way to identify if you’re indeed triggered or not. If you are still triggered, it is important that you get out of the situation and then reach a place where you can calm down emotionally.

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