INTEROCEPTION SELF-TEST

Excessive sensitivity to internal states constitutes a vulnerability factor for anxiety and panic attacks. Below is an informal example of the common tests used to identify the level of sensitivity to one’s bodily state. Take the test to gauge where your sensibility level falls.

STEP 1

First set your alarm for 1 minute. Sit somewhere quiet and comfortable, and keep your hands at your sides and both feet on the ground

STEP 2

Once you are fully settled, start your alarm and close your eyes (or keep them open). It is recommended to do the test before eating

STEP 3

Focus on your heart beats and try to count how many times you hear heartbeats during that minute.

DO NOT hold the pulse on your wrist or neck.

After the minute is up, write down the number of heartbeats (estimated heart rate)

STEP 4

Next, set your alarm again for 1 minute and this time take your pulse the usual way by placing your left/right pointer and middle fingers on the underside of the opposite wrist.

You can also take your pulse by placing your right/left pointer and middle fingers just under the back of your jaw where the jaw meets the neck (on the same side–right or left).

STEP 5

Wait 2 minutes

STEP 6

Again, set a timer for 1 minute and retake your pulse as in step 4.

Next, sum the two numbers (pulse rate in step 4 + pulse rate in step 6) and divide the result by 2, which should give you an average heart rate.

STEP 7

Complete the following calculation:

1 – ((Average heart rate – estimated heart rate)/average heart rate) = ______________

STEP 8

How to interpret your results:

A result of .80 or higher indicates that your interoceptive ability is very good.

A result of .60-.79 reflects a moderately good sense of self.

A result of below .59 indicates poor interoception.

Sources: Arnold, C. (2012). Inside the Wrong Body. Scientific American Mind. 23, 36 – 41.


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