Expanding Heart Connections
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THE SCIENCE OF HEART
Since 1991, the HeartMath Institute has researched and developed reliable, scientifically based tools to help people bridge the connection between their hearts and minds, and deepen their connection with the hearts of others. HeartMath’s research shows how emotions change our heart rhythm patterns. Positive emotions create coherent heart rhythms, which look like rolling hills – it’s a smooth and ordered pattern. In contrast, negative emotions create chaotic, erratic patterns. Using a heart rhythm monitor, you can actually see your heart rhythms change in real time as you shift from stressful emotions like anger or anxiety to positive feelings like care or appreciation. Coherent heart rhythm patterns facilitate higher brain function, whereas negative emotions inhibit a person’s ability to think clearly. Coherent heart rhythms also create a feeling of solidity and security. Scientific research also shows that our heart emits an electromagnetic field that changes according to our emotions. This electromagnetic field, can be measured up to several feet away from our body and therefore not only impacts our own physiological and psychological state, but our electromagnetic field also influences the well-being of other people. As a certified HeartMath Trainer, it’s my passion to teach you everything about the intelligence of the heart and effective ways to bring your body systems into synchronous operation allowing you to move through life in a state of ease.
COHERENCE – A STATE OF OPTIMAL FUNCTION
The Institute of HeartMath’s research has shown that generating sustained positive emotions facilitates a body-wide shift to a specific, scientifically measurable state. This state is termed psychophysiological coherence, because it is characterized by increased order and harmony in both our psychological (mental and emotional) and physiological (bodily) processes. Psychophysiological coherence is the state of optimal function. Research shows that when we activate this state, our physiological systems function more efficiently, we experience greater emotional stability, and we also have increased mental clarity and improved cognitive function. Simply stated, our body and brain work better, we feel better, and we perform better.
STATE OF COHERENCE
We have the capacity to re-synchronize our body systems by creating a state of Coherence and thus improving our mental focus, emotional stability and physical resilience. This allows us to operate in a more efficient manner in all areas of life. The diagram on the left illustrates some physiological patterns before and after inducing a state of Coherence.
Most of us have been taught in school that the heart is constantly responding to “orders” sent by the brain in the form of neural signals. However, it is not as commonly known that the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart! Moreover, these heart signals have a significant effect on brain function—influencing emotional processing as well as higher cognitive faculties such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving. In other words, not only does the heart respond to the brain, but the brain continuously responds to the heart.
YOUR HEART’S RHYTHM
The heart at rest was once thought to operate much like a metronome, faithfully beating out a regular, steady rhythm. Scientists and physicians now know, however, that this is far from the case. Rather than being monotonously regular, the rhythm of a healthy heart—even under resting conditions—is actually surprisingly irregular, with the time interval between consecutive heartbeats constantly changing. This naturally occurring beat-to-beat variation in heart rate is called heart rate variability (HRV).
RHYTHMS AND EMOTIONS
Many factors influence the heart rate variability. One of the most powerful factors that affects our heart’s changing rhythm is our feelings and emotions. When our varying heart rate is plotted over time, the overall shape of the waveform produced is called the heart rhythm pattern. Emotional stress, like emotions such as anger, frustration, and anxiety, gives rise to heart rhythm patterns that appear irregular and erratic: the HRV waveform looks like a series of uneven, jagged peaks. When we experience uplifting emotions such as appreciation, joy, care, and love, our heart rhythm pattern becomes highly ordered, looking like a smooth, harmonious wave.
THE QUICK COHERENCE TECHNIQUE
Below, you see the two most important steps to start generating a more coherent heart pattern. Try to find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed and practice this simple, yet effective and powerful exercise. During my workshops I explain in much more detail the effects of a coherent heart in our daily lives. You also get the chance to experiment with the professional equipment and read your own graph. In the mean time, you can order your own heart coherence device in the online store.
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. SUGGESTION: Inhale 5 seconds, exhale 5 seconds (or whatever rhythm is comfortable). Putting your attention around the heart area helps you center and get coherent.
ACTIVATE A POSITIVE FEELING
Make a sincere attempt to experience a regenerative feeling such as appreciation or care for someone or something in your life. SUGGESTION: Try to re-experience the feeling you have for someone you love, a pet, a special place, an accomplishment, etc., or focus on a feeling of calm or ease.
Interview (audio) with Gregg Braden: Resilience from the Heart
Interview with Howard Martin, Exec. VP HeartMath – The Intelligence of the Heart
Interview with Howard Martin, Exec. VP HeartMath – Find your True Heart’s Purpose
Interview with Cardiologist Dr. Cynthia Thaik – Your Vibrant Heart
*HeartMath is a registered trademark of the Institute of HeartMath. Quick Coherence is a registered trademark of Doc Childre. Inner-Ease and Heart-Focused Breathing are trademarks of Doc Childre. emWave and Inner Balance are a trademark of Quantum Intech, Inc.
Source: Institute of HeartMath
Secret to Life
I believe that the secret to life lies in hitting the brakes, really slowing down and learning to understand ourselves better. You can only be at peace and feel fulfilled, when you are honest with yourself and start closing the gap between who you appear to be and who you really are. You will then discover that you are beautiful.
– Dirk Terpstra