Published: Oct. 2, 2023

CU Boulder expert to lead series focusing on the science of heart-rate variability and its applicability via the HeartMath system

In a four-part series of workshops at the University of Colorado Boulder, an expert in heart-rate variability will share research and its application via the HeartMath system.

Participants in the workshop series, which runs from Oct. 10-31, will learn how to utilize the heart/brain connection to regulate heart rhythms to immediately address their emotional state in challenging situations. The workshops will teach participants how to do this while building coherence of heart, mind and emotion, boosting resilience, decreasing stress and improving mental and physical performance, notes Erin Cunningham-Ritter, PhD, who will lead the workshops. 

Cunningham Ritter, who is director of wellness and employee engagement for the College of Arts and Sciences, said that the workshops aim to support “our communities with practical, in-the-moment tools for building coherence and capacity for resilience, stress reduction, improved self-regulation, performance and mental and physical health.”

Cunningham Ritter

Erin Cunningham Ritter

Each workshop will be held on a Tuesday, beginning on Oct. 10, from 1-2 p.m. The workshops are free and open to all, but participants must register at this link

The first workshop, on Oct. 10, is the “foundational workshop,” and participants are encouraged to attend the first workshop before each of the subsequent ones.

CU Boulder recognizes that the campus community is our most valuable asset, and that has never been more apparent than it is now, Cunningham-Ritter said. 

“To care for our students and employees, and to recognize that all of us face new personal, academic and work challenges, the campus is providing a program designed to support our community as we work to balance home and school life,” she said.   

She described HeartMath as an evidenced-based program that teaches participants to access their hearts’ inner balance to become the best version of themselves. These tools, which can be applied in the moment, are proven to help participants reduce stress and anxiety while improving coherence, self-security and decision making, according to Cunningham Ritter.

She added that benefits to the workshops include:

  • Enhanced ability to focus, process information and solve problems
  • Increased coherence, vitality and resilience
  • Reduced stress, worry and fatigue
  • Improved physiological/psychological health and executive functions

Workshop topics include: 

  • The latest findings from optimal-performance research
  • Skills for building coherence in the face of change and uncertainty
  • Intelligent energy self-regulation techniques
  • Practical ideas for easily integrating valuable tools into everyday routines   

The series of workshops comprises:

  • Four, one-hour virtual meetings
  • Prompts for practice after each session
  • Workbooks and learning materials

HeartMath has developed highly successful programs for self-improvement in mental, emotional and physical balance, according to Cunningham-Ritter. However, HeartMath technology and materials are not intended to replace treatments for medical or psychological conditions by licensed physicians, psychologists or other health care professionals.  

The series of workshops are sponsored by Be Well, the College of Arts and Sciences’ wellness initiative, and CU Boulder Health and Wellness Services. For more information or to ask questions, contact Erin Cunningham Ritter.