by Lisa Breitenwischer, CHHC
The human heart, in addition to its other functions, actually possesses a heart-brain composed of about 40,000 neurons that can sense, feel, learn and remember. In essence, it seems that the heart is truly an intelligent system. Research has shown that the heart communicates to the brain in several majors ways and 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.
HeartMath Institute research has demonstrated that different patterns of heart activity (which accompany different emotional states) have distinct effects on cognitive and emotional function. During stress and negative emotions, when the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered, the corresponding pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain inhibits higher cognitive functions. This limits our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions.
In contrast, when the heart rhythm is coherent-generating stable sine wave-like patterns, the body, including the brain, begins to experience all sorts of benefits, among them greater mental clarity and intuitive ability, including better decision-making.
Although the brain and the heart are in constant communication, we can intentionally direct our heart to communicate to our brain and body in beneficial ways. When we experience sincere positive emotions, such as caring, compassion or appreciation, the heart processes these emotions, and the heart’s rhythm becomes more coherent and harmonious. This information is sent to the brain and the entire body neurologically, biochemically, biophysically and energetically!
Here’s how, to create a state of coherence in about 60 seconds by releasing stress and stopping draining negative emotions such as frustration, irritation, anger and anxiety. Applying the Quick Coherence Technique, from HeartMath Tools will help bring your emotions and thoughts back into balance to experience peace and inner harmony.
Step 1: Focus your attention around the area of your heart. Breath slowly and casually, and a little deeper than normal. Inhale into your heart center and exhale out through your heart center.
Step 2: Activate a positive heart based feeling of something that regenerates a feeling of caring or appreciation that makes you feel good. It could be a person, a pet, or a place.
This technique can be used anywhere and any time you recognize energy draining moments!
To learn more about the HeartMath Institute tools & techniques visit HeartMath.org.