There are three tricks that will go a long ways in ending your anxiety and obsession over taking your pulse, even if you take it a hundred times a day.
There are varying degrees of pulse obsession and anxiety. I once had a very mild degree, but the three tricks I’m about to tell you should really help even the most severe compulsion.
NOTE: This article refers strictly to checking for number of beats per minute, NOT the presence or absence of fluttering, thumping, skipping beats or “runs” of PVCs.
Cure Obsessive Heart Rate Checking
by Feeling for Only 8-12 Beats: No Math
If you’ve taken your pulse hundreds of times in the past week or even month, that’s enough for you to be able to associate a particular rate with a particular one-minute pulse.
I can estimate my pulse within a four-beat accuracy just by feeling it for only eight beats.
In fact, just before I began writing this post, I estimated my pulse to be 82 – after feeling it at my neck for only eight beats.
I then placed my fingers on my wrist and watched the second hand of the computer clock: I was dead-on accurate: 82!
Get familiar with the tempo of the beat – and you can achieve this with only eight to 12 beats.
Once you learn to do this you’ll be able to take your one-minute pulse by feeling for only 8-12 beats – an instant computation – INSTEAD of feeling it for 10 seconds and multiplying by six, or 15 seconds and multiplying by four, let alone draining a full minute doing it.
My technique should allow you to casually feel your neck — no looking at any clock necessary — and hold for eight to 12 beats, and then instantly get a strong feel for what the one-minute pulse would be.
In fact, sometimes I get a good feel after feeling only four or five beats.
You can hone this skill by first guessing what your one-minute pulse is after feeling for only about eight beats, then taking it for a minute. Have fun with this! You’ll get good at it soon enough!
Your obsession and anxiety will then be dramatically reduced to just seconds per check rather than an entire minute, and it will actually suppress your compulsion.
Ask yourself this:
What on earth is the purpose of taking your pulse for an entire minute if the first eight beats that you feel are at a tempo within the normal range?
Sometimes the tempo for me is faster than at other times, but I’ve taken my heart rate enough times to know when what I feel for even four beats is in a normal range.
Cure Obsessive Pulse Taking and Anxiety
with this Question
Next, ask yourself what purpose it serves to KEEP taking your pulse. Gee, if you have a heart problem as far as a dangerously high pulse, wouldn’t one heart rate check in a single day every day reveal it?
Okay, maybe that’s not enough for those with severe heart rate anxiety, but a hundred in one day?
Those with significant anxiety will take their pulse 20 times in just one hour. Tell yourself that 20 times in one hour is not going to reveal anything that once or twice an hour won’t reveal.
Once you’re down to once or twice an hour, reduce this further to once every few hours, and then just a few times in an entire day.
You want to collect data. Tell yourself that your collection of pulse data will not be any more accurate with a hundred checks a day vs. 50 checks a day vs. 20 checks a day vs. five.
Just a few checks a day is more than adequate. Over time your anxiety will dwindle further: a few checks per week.
Bonus Trick for Curing
Obsessive Pulse Taking Anxiety
My mild obsession was triggered by a resting pulse that would sometimes be in the 90s.
I’ve always been an avid weightlifter, but I’ll admit, I’ve always hated cardio and would be prone to being inconsistent with cardio workouts.
I finally decided to crack down on cardio and BE CONSISTENT. Within a few months the 90-something heart rates were gone, and usually, my pulse was well in the low to mid 70s, sometimes in the mid to high 60s, whereas prior to cracking down on cardio, it ranged in the 80s to 90s, with only an occasional 70s.
So to help cure an obsession and anxiety with taking your pulse, take up cardio, even if you’re overweight or smoke. DO NOT SKIP SESSIONS. Three times a week is plenty for knocking down your baseline heart rate.