I recently had the opportunity to prepare and present information that I am really passionate about, to a group of interesting people.  During my presentation I found that the energy in the room was a bit ‘low’ and my sense was that several people who were in attendance, were there just because they had to be!

I did some deep, Heart Focused BreathingTM to centre myself and continued with my presentation.  Afterwards, when I was considering what went well; what could have gone better; what I could improve upon? I knew that there must be a way to change the energy in the room but I was too close to the situation and was going with the flow of my presentation.  So I checked in with my HeartMath® coach and trainer, Alan Strydom and his words of wisdom were “to name and acknowledge the energy in the room, and then shift or change it.”

What a beautiful teaching moment I had missed.  Consequently, I decided to write about it.

So, if you are a teacher sitting in a meeting when you know you have a stack of papers to mark, or even thinking about the preparation for tomorrow’s lessons, or what’s waiting for you at home ….

If you are a pupil sitting in the classroom when you’d really rather be outside, playing on the grass or sitting in front of the TV, playing games ….

If you are a student sitting in a university lecture, and you would rather be anywhere else in the world….

If you are an employee or executive stuck in a meeting that’s going on and on, and you know how much work is sitting on your desk; or you keep thinking about those important follow-up calls you have to make ….

If you are a teacher, standing in front of a disruptive class of pupils (who would rather be playing than learning), and you would rather be somewhere else ….

If you are a parent whose child is having a meltdown because they are tired and hungry or you are driving in your car, with screaming kids in the back seat and you wish you could just stop the car and walk away….

If you are a student writing a test or exam and you have no idea what the answers are, even though you know you studied the material ….

…. How can you Shift and Reset1 in the moment?  When walking away or day-dreaming is not an option, what can you do?


What is Coherence?

It is “an optimal state where the heart, mind and emotions are aligned and in sync.” 2

How do you get Coherent3?

Step 1: Focus your attention in the area of the heart. Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area, breathing a little slower and deeper than usual.

Step 2: Make a sincere attempt to experience a regenerative feeling, such as appreciation or care for someone or something in your life.


When you have the power to Shift and Reset in the moment, you can totally transform your experience of an event and regulate your emotions.  This is also one of three strategies that can help you build resilience.  [Keep an eye out for more strategies in future blogs].

During my presentation, I took the time to shift and reset my state and if I had thought to shift and reset the room, how much more inspiration could have flowed? An important lesson learned.

Blog written by Michele Frew, Certified HeartMath Coach.

Case Study showing how Shift and Reset positively influences our body
A police offcier durng a domestic violence scenario. HRV changes after doing the Shift & Reset HeartMath technique. This helped the officer get coherent.

This graph shows what happened when a police officer used the Shift & Reset technique after a very challenging situation (taking part in a simulated domestic violence scenario)4. While the officer was standing still in the room with the suspect and an upset woman, his heart rate shot up to over 170 beats per minute (BPM).

After the scenario was over, his heart rate had reduced but was still elevated. After doing the Shift & Reset his heart rate returned to normal very quickly, as shown on the far right of the graph.

Before taking the HeartMath® training, the average recovery time for the police officers’ heart rates to return to normal was over an hour and 20 minutes. Some officers’ heart rates did not return to normal for the remainder of their shifts.

This demonstrates the impact our emotions have on our heart and body. It shows how at times, emotional stress can increase heart rate more than exercise and can be exhausting! We are not performing out our best nor are we coherent if we are emotionally charged.


  1. Institute of HeartMath®, 2014. HeartMath® Certified Trainer, Leader’s Guide Contents: Shift and Reset, p 47.
  2. Institute of HeartMath®, 2014. HeartMath® Certified Trainer, Leader’s Guide Contents: Coherence, p 27.
  3. Institute of HeartMath®, 2017. Quick Coherence® (online). Available: https://www.heartmath.com/quick-coherence-technique/, 8 February 2017.
  4. Institute of HeartMath, 2014. HeartMath Certified Trainer, Leader’s Guide Contents, p 48