How to Stop a Racing Heart


Things You'll Need

  • Ice
  • Cold water
  • Rubberband
Man running on the beach
Man running on the beach (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

A racing heart can occur from physical exertion, stress, sickness, menopause, a pre-existing heart condition or for no apparent reason at all. Sometimes, an electrical malfunction within the heart can cause a sporadic racing heart. Racing hearts can be treated with medication, physical maneuvers (i.e., snapping the heart back into a normal rhythm, bearing down or vomiting) and a special diet to help prevent future incidences from occurring. The longer a racing heart takes place, the harder it can be to stop it.

Step 1

Splash your face and neck with ice cold water. If the racing heart is severe, sometimes plunging the head into ice water (In a sink or tub) can control an erratic electrical pathway in the heart.

Man splashing face with water
Man splashing face with water (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Step 2

Place a rubberband on either wrist. Slowly snap it against the wrist in time to a regular heart beat. This should not only get your mind off the racing heart, which can help regulate it, but it can also send impulses to the brain and heart that can help slow the heart.

Man wearing a rubber band
Man wearing a rubber band (Image: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

Step 3

Bear down as if making a bowel movement. This is called the valsalva maneuver and puts enough strain and pressure into the chest region that the heart can sometimes regulate itself again.

Man doubled over
Man doubled over (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Step 4

Relax. Steady breathing, laying back and concentrating on remaining calm can be very effective in reducing a racing heart.

Man laying down
Man laying down (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Step 5

Seek medical attention if all other options have been exhausted and have not regulated the heartbeat. If a racing heart occurs for more than 10 minutes at a high rate of over 150 beats per minute, medical attention should be sought to prevent fainting or blood clots.

Older man with doctor
Older man with doctor (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

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