Taking my heart reading while getting a haircut begins to flush out the professional services stress leaderboard. Using Polar H7 heart rate strap and a new app, the Heart Rate Variability Logger by Marco Altini I captured several time domain measurements for the comparison.
In this case I used the pNN50 which is a percentage of the normal heartbeat intervals that are greater than 50 milliseconds. The intuition there is if a low percentage of your heartbeat intervals are over 50 milliseconds then your heart is beating regularly and quickly, so you are likely in an excited state. Conversely, if 30% of your heartbeats are over 50 milliseconds you have a fair bit of variability in the beats.
Here is the comparison:
The green line above is the average of my baseline when relaxed (32% pNN50) and the red line below is the stressed baseline (4.5% pNN50). These measurements are all taken over consecutive 30 second periods so I am comparing apples to apples.
The orange line shows a snapshot of the tooth drilling session at the dentist. As you can see, it closely follows the stress average. The purple line is the haircut. Much higher pNN50, averaging up around 20%. Much less stress for sure.
So though getting a haircut is not as relaxing as meditation, if you are having a bad day head over to your hairdresser for a trim. It may put you in a better mood.