Intensity Study Wrapup

The Intensity Study was based on 242 logged events over 24 days looking at multiple factors that could effect the intensity of my upset reactions. In four previous blog posts I have shared the details of Direct vs. Self Induced triggers, Past vs. Future triggers, Movement vs. Stillness, and various environmental factors like water intake.  Here are some summarised thoughts of what I think I saw in the data:

1. The standard unit of a day may be too long for meaningful correlations. Averaging noticed intensity over the day did not yield much against other factors like sleep and activity. I don’t think this proves or disproves anything. It just means that the day as a period of measure is inconclusive in the type of work I am doing.

2. Dreaming up future mini-disaster scenarios is the brain’s specialty and the numbers show it is a rich source of the stress triggers I experienced. If I am going to create some hacks to short circuit stress triggers, I will start with defusing the constant thought stream of future bad outcomes.

3. Movement and stillness consistently delivers a different experience of the stress triggers. When moving there is something in navigation and solving for the locomotion of oneself that pushes aside more distant concerns. Seems obvious, and there are some hacks that I am already considering using that dynamic.

4. Conscious self reporting has its limits. As of 8am this morning I have logged over 3,361 incidents where I noticed myself being angry or anxious. The first logged entry was on 7 Sept 2012. I think as a practitioner of this particular form of logging I can be considered experienced. Yet work with Heart Rate Variability (HRV) monitors show me that I miss a large number of moments when my physiology is showing a stress reaction, and when I stop and notice there is indeed some thought bubbling around down there.

My next study will be with the aid of HRV monitors to see if the tactical triggering of physiological stress brings us to the same conclusions around future scenarios and movement.



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