September 30, 2014
Science Daily/Concordia University
New research has found a way to identify those most susceptible to stress. That's a huge help for health-care professionals working to stop stress before it gets out of control. "By pinpointing those in the general population who are most vulnerable to stress, we can intervene before they hit the breaking point -- and hopefully prevent the negative consequences of stress by doing so. That's why it's important to have an objective diagnostic tool like this one," a researcher says.
They found that those who exhibited a less variable heartbeat when they started worrying were more likely to be highly stressed later on, when faced with finals.
Gouin, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Chronic Stress and Health, explains: "At rest, a more variable heartbeat is a good thing. It shows that your parasympathetic nervous system is hard at work. That's the system that's responsible for the 'rest-and-digest' state of being -- the opposite of 'fight-or-flight.' The rest-and-digest phase puts you in a calm state that allows you to conserve and replenish your energy."