The Blue Courage and HeartMath Partnership

 

The nonprofit Institute of HeartMath is a recognized leader in stress research, the physiology of optimal performance and resilience. Twenty years ago, HartMath research identified the physiological state of coherence — an optimal state of emotional, cognitive and physical functioning that underlies one’s ability to build and sustain resilience. This understanding led them to develop resilience training and mentoring programs which teach people to take charge of and intelligently regulate their energy. To date, tens of thousands of individuals have increased their resilience capacity using HeartMath self-regulation tools and heart-rhythm feedback technology. Their training and mentoring programs have proven especially effective with individuals who work in the service of others—such as nurses, police and active duty service members.

The Resilience AdvantageTM

Building Stress Resilience and Optimizing Performance

For law-enforcement officers, military service members, firefighters, emergency medical services and 911 call-center personnel and other first responders.

This is a special version of Resilience Advantage with several added content modules designed specifically to improve the safety and well-being of first responders. This workshop teaches officers to take charge of and self-regulate unnecessary energy expenditures that deplete resilience and diminish mental and physical performance. As a result, they are able perform at their best and increase and sustain emotional balance, clarity and flexibility while dealing with day-to-day challenges. Other important benefits include improved sleep, situational awareness, reaction time and decision-making, particularly under pressure.

“We have long been aware of the toll policing exacts physically and emotionally. That toll erodes our resilience and capacity to perform at sustained high levels. The Coherence Advantage provides the learning and tools for officers to take charge of their emotions, store and recover energy, sustain health and perform in peak state. It is as essential to our survival as is mastering street survival tactics!”

— Cmdr. Michael J. Nila (Ret.), Team Blue Courage, Aurora, IL.

Practicing the self-regulation and resilience-building skills helps:

  • Sharpen and maintain situational awareness.
  • Increase mental clarity and flexible and focused thinking, especially under pressure.
  • Improve reaction times and coordination.
  • Reduce fatigue and sleeplessness.
  • Reduce symptoms of operational stress.
  • Build and sustain resilience.
  • Decrease friction in relationships and improve communication.

Resilience Advantage participants experience the following benefits:

Significant reductions in:

  • Psychological distress
  • Anger
  • Emotional reactivity
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood sugar
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety

Increases in:

  • Productivity
  • Positive outlook
  • Goal clarity
  • Motivation
  • Perceived support
  • Family connection
  • Patience and understanding
  • Ability to reset after critical incidents
domestic-violence-graph

The graph to the left, from a study of police officers, provides an example of one important benefit of learning and practicing the self-regulation techniques: the ability to reset after challenging situations. 

Before the training, it took on average, over one hour for officers’ heart rates to return to their normal baseline rates. After training, the officers were able to quickly reset and bring their heart rates back to their normal baseline rates in a matter of minutes.

Personal Resilience Mentoring

Personal Resilience Mentoring is provided by trained mentors with the Institute of HeartMath. This series of four personal resilience-mentoring sessions, provided via telephone or via Skype, teaches officers several core skills that build resilience and boost performance. As with the Resilience Advantage workshop, officers learn to better handle stress reactions and develop more intelligent approaches to self-regulation and renewing their energy. As individuals increase their energy reserves, they are better able to bounce back from stressful events and build a cushion that prepares and protects them from the damaging effects of many of life’s typical stressors. Mentors are skilled at understanding the needs of police officers and helping them quickly learn and apply practical techniques so they can take charge of their work and personal lives. The Personal Resilience Mentoring Program is available for your organization’s leadership and staff. As an option, members of your department can be trained to become Personal Resilience Mentors.

“Last week I was in a situation in which a person squared off on me and started reaching in his jacket. I went to my breath and activated coherence, and never felt anything but calm. As I noticed the sirens of my backup arriving, I realized my heart was beating slowly. Every other time that has happened, I basically screamed for backup and it took me a whole day to calm down. When my Captain got there, he said he thought I was kidding when I put out the call because I sounded so calm on the radio. He asked what I’d been doing differently. This stuff is for real.”

—Police Officer, San Diego PD