As the brain is able to be re-trained through neuroplasticity, so can the heart. In the same way, we build mental habits, we can develop new heart habits.
Whatever the heart informs the brain, the brain responds accordingly. It takes changing what we have hard-wired in the communication exchange between the heart and the brain, and between the neurons in the heart, just like rewiring the communication between neurons in the brain.
It's well-known that the mind and body are interconnected. What we think and feel affects our physical health, and vice versa. But did you know that the heart also plays a role in this relationship? Through a process called Heart Brain Coherence, the heart and brain can influence each other in a positive way. When the heart is in a state of coherence, it sends signals to the brain that promote calmness and focus. In turn, the brain responds by creating new neural pathways that reinforce these positive states. As a result, we can develop new "heart habits" that lead to improved mental and physical health. Heart Brain Coherence is a powerful tool that we can use to create lasting change in our lives.
If it has become the “norm” for the heart to feel chronic stress or anger, it is accustomed to communicating this to the brain. The brain triggers the body’s response in the form of stress hormones, constricted blood vessels, increased blood pressure, chronic inflammation and basically makes the heart work harder. Putting the heart through constant emotional distress disrupts the body's balance and can lead to physical disease.
Just as neuroplasticity is described as training the brain through learning, what if we trained our hearts using positive emotions so that the brain more consistently releases chemicals that support healing and well-being?
By increasing awareness of what we are “feeding” the command centre, we can be intentional about what we allow in, what we give permission to spread to the rest of the body, and even how we inspire others to feel around us.
Heart brain coherence is the communication between the heart and the brain. The heart sends more signals to the brain than the brain does to the heart. When we focus on positive emotions, our heart rate variability increases, meaning that our heart is sending more coherent signals to the brain.
This is important because the more coherent signals we send to the brain, the more balanced and relaxed our nervous system becomes, and the better we are able to think clearly and make decisions from our intelligence, not just from our emotions.
When we focus on negative emotions, our heart rate variability decreases, meaning that our heart is sending less coherent signals to the brain.
This creates stress in the body and mind, which impairs our ability to think clearly and make decisions from our intelligence.
It is important to change what we focus on in order to change the quality of communications between the heart and brain, and thus change the way we feel and think.
Following are steps to stimulate positive emotions for greater heart-brain coherence:
Bring focused attention to your heart. You can also place your hand(s) over it for a physical connection.
Use the Box Breath Technique. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds & hold your breath for 4 seconds. Repeat four times. This lowers the heart rate.
Bring to mind something that makes you feel love, joy, or thankfulness.You can also create this in your imagination such as spending time with a child, a pet, or in spiritual presence.
Amplify positive emotions that come forth such as amusement, hope, or inspiration. You can even give them happy or soothing colors. Allow a smile to form as you savor the moment.
Visualize sending these feelings (i.e. input) from your heart to your brain. Be as creative as you’d like, such as picturing them as healing light energy or shooting stars as your brain tingles.
Expand to other areas of your body including cells and organs. Notice how they respond. Perhaps your cells are now vibrating with the energy of joy.
If the preference is not to focus on controlled breathing or to bypass some of the steps above due to time, simply bringing up positive emotions that invoke calm through the heart-space will cause coherence.
Studies show that a prayer of gratitude or “heartfelt love” also increases cardiac coherence. These are easy to execute interventions one can do any time anywhere.
As with any new practice, repetition is key to making it familiar to the brain as to the heart. Doing any variation of these exercises right before bedtime can lead to deeply restful and restorative sleep as it clears out concerns. Be purposeful about what your final thoughts are before you hit the sack as they will flow right into sleep.
Heart coherence training has permeated multiple industries from medical and corporate to law enforcement and educational environments.
Coherency enables the ability to pick up data in another’s heart, beyond what the person has shared verbally. For example, a patient may be holding back fears. When the physician’s heart is already in a state of tranquility, this enables the doctor to be present and viscerally connected to respond with patient-centred insights.
The patient's heart can be also be influenced to feel calm just by this transfer of energy which can trigger an alpha state supporting resilience, optimism and the ability to see options. When patients feel understood by a doctor's intuition, stemming from the heart-brain, innately the patient's level of trust and comfort increases, induced by oxytocin (the love hormone) released by the brain.
Can a Person’s Negative Heart Energy Affect Mine?
When we are in a highly coherent state, we are less likely to be affected by another’s negativity. We are able to remain emotionally composed and adaptable to whatever is going on in the external world. In fact, we can disrupt the incoherence in another person, who is much more susceptible to external influences. We can even enter a room and sway the hearts and brain waves around us.
When you feel light and joyful, take notice of how you got there.
If you are in the company of another, allow yourself to wonder if it is your heart or theirs who caused that to happen?
The next time you encounter others, practice using your heart's electromagnetic energy field to redirect their emotions to the upside.
In what ways can you put to good use your most powerfully attracting part of your body - your heart?
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With Love & Gratitude,