A normal heart rate is believed to be between 60 and 100 beats per minute. But some experts tend to think that the ideal resting heart rate is 50–70 beats. The causes that can provoke tachycardia can be dangerous (heart disease, anemia) or they just represent our reaction to the conditions we live in (stress, fever, training). If you notice that your heart works faster, the first thing you should do is to consult a doctor.
Here at Bright Side, we care about our readers and have made a list of techniques that can be the first remedy in this unpleasant situation. If you see no improvements in your condition for 15–20 minutes, call 911.
1. Perform the Valsalva maneuver.
The Valsalva maneuver is a breathing technique that leads to several rapid changes in our heart rate.
How to do it:
- Pinch your nose closed with the fingers of one hand;
- Close your mouth’
- Exhale, as if you are inflating a balloon;
- Bear down, as if you are having a bowel movement;
- Do this technique for about 10–15 seconds.
2. Listen to “Weightless” by Marconi Union.
There is a song that was proven to reduce anxiety levels by 65%. Marconi Union created this composition in tight cooperation with Lyz Cooper, the leading sound therapist from the UK and founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy. Combining bass, rhythm, and harmony, this music helps to reduce your heartbeat and blood pressure, and lower your levels of cortisol.
3. Use cold water.
This method is effective because it stimulates the vagus nerve that, above all, helps to control heart rate. If you feel that your heartbeat is fast try to splash cold water on your face. You can also immerse your face in a sink or large bowl filled with cold water. Keep your face under water for as long as you can.
4. Bear down.
This technique is close to the Valsalva maneuver described above. It consists of 2 steps:
- Clench your stomach muscles and your anal sphincter;
- Bear down as if you are having a bowel movement.
5. Perform a carotid sinus massage.
Carotid sinus massage also helps with a racing heart. This artery runs down our throat next to the vagal nerve. A gentle massage of this artery with fingertips will stimulate the neighboring nerve and decrease your heart rate.
6. Drink ice water.
According to this research, there is a simple way to lower your heartbeat. All you need to do is drink ice water. When a person drinks ice water, it stimulates the vagus nerve. This in turn makes the heart slow down as a natural reflex.
7. Breathe deeply.
The author of this site has a long history of a racing heart rate. He acknowledges that he felt like he was running for his life while being chased by an angry rhino or hungry cheetah. It was disconcerting and he felt ill while it was happening. So he created his own solution to manage this problem.
- Hold your breath and count to 5, or for as long as you can.
- Slowly inhale and then exhale again.
- Repeat the process.
The author warns that he has no medical education, but this technique seems to work and other users confirm it. If you do not want to follow the advice of an unknown person you can find a lot of breath exercises by looking into yoga breathing.
8. Take medicine.
We all know that each organism responds to treatment in different ways. If nothing from the above list helps and you have already consulted with a doctor, it is time to consider taking medication. Nowadays, there are lots of different drugs that can help you with this problem.
What are long-term methods?
This article suggests the following ways to decrease your heart rate to normal levels:
- Exercise more: daily physical activity slows your resting heartbeat.
- Reduce stress: performing yoga, daily breathing techniques, and meditation are the perfect methods to help you deal with a racing heart.
- Avoid tobacco products: smokers have higher resting heart rates. If you quit, your rate should return back to normal.
- Lose weight (if necessary): obese people have a significant increase in their mean heart rate. Losing weight is the first step to solving this problem.
Do you know any other tips that can help to lower your heart rate? Add your pieces of advice below and share this article with people who have this problem.
Yekaterina Ragozina, Ekaterina Gapanovich for Bright Side