Power of the Heart: Awakening Our Hearts’ Intelligence

Submitted by Dina Stephenson – 

Everybody has a heart and your body can not live without it. But your heart is also more than just an organ pumping blood throughout your body.

With the help of HeartMath® techniques you are able to tap into your heart’s intelligence and start healing yourself.

HeartMath is a unique system based on rigorous scientific research, with validated techniques and advanced technologies. It is highly effective for people interested in personal development and improved emotional, mental, and physical health. The HeartMath Institute (HMI) researches heart-brain communication and its relationship to managing stress, increasing coherence, and deepening one’s connection to self and others. HMI’s scientists also explore the electrophysiology of intuition and how all things are interconnected.

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Neurocardiology – The Brain in the Heart

Researchers at HeartMath found that the heart has a complex neural network that is sufficiently extensive to be characterized as a brain in the heart. The heart-brain, as it is commonly called, or intrinsic cardiac nervous system, is an intricate network of complex ganglia, neurotransmitters, proteins, and support cells, the same as those of the brain in the head. The heart contains cells that produce and release norepinephrine and dopamine, neurotransmitters once thought to be produced only by the brain and ganglia outside the heart. Even more remarkable is the discovery that the heart produces oxytocin – the “love hormone”– in concentrations that are as high as those in the brain.

Heart-Brain Communication

Traditionally, the study of communication pathways between the head and heart has been approached from a rather one-sided perspective, with scientists focusing primarily on the heart’s responses to the brain’s commands. HeartMath learned that communication between the heart and brain is a dynamic, ongoing, two-way dialogue, with each organ continuously influencing the other’s function. Research has shown that the heart communicates to the brain in four major ways: neurologically (through the transmission of nerve impulses), biochemically (via hormones and neurotransmitters), biophysically (through pressure waves), and energetically (through electromagnetic field interactions). Communication along all these conduits significantly affects the brain’s activity. Moreover, the research shows that messages the heart sends to the brain also can affect performance.

Resilience and Emotional Self-Regulation

Our emotions infuse life with a rich texture and transform our conscious experience into a meaningful living experience. Emotions determine what we care about and what motivates us. They connect us to others and give us the courage to do what needs to be done, to appreciate our successes, to protect and support the people we love, and to have compassion and kindness for those who are in need of our help. Emotions also allow us to experience the pain and grief of loss. Without emotions, life would lack meaning and purpose.

Emotions and resilience are closely related because emotions are the primary drivers of many key physiological processes involved in energy regulation. HeartMath defines resilience as the capacity to prepare for, recover from, and adapt in the face of stress, adversity, trauma, or challenge. Therefore, it follows that a key to sustaining good health, optimal function, and resilience is the ability to manage one’s emotions.

By learning self-regulation techniques that allow us to shift our physiology into a more coherent state, the increased physiological efficiency and alignment of the mental and emotional systems accumulates resilience (energy) across all four energetic domains. Having a high level of resilience is important not only for bouncing back from challenging situations, but also for preventing unnecessary stress reactions (frustration, impatience, anxiety), which often lead to further energy and time waste and deplete our physical and psychological resources. Most people would agree it is the ability to adjust and self-regulate one’s responses and behaviour that is most important in building and maintaining supportive, loving relationships and effectively meeting life’s demands with composure, consistency, and integrity.

Health Improvement

An estimated 60 to 80 per cent of primary-care doctor visits are related to stress. HeartMath’s mental and emotional self-regulation techniques and practices can provide an effective strategy for stress reduction in many clinical contexts. HeartMath techniques allow people to quickly self-induce a physiological shift to a more coherent state that takes advantage of the concurrent change in afferent neuronal input to the brain, which is associated with increased self-regulatory capacity and thus, ability to more successfully handle the demands and challenges of life with more ease and composure.

HeartMath interventions have helped people manage their stress, especially for those with stress-related conditions:

  • Hypertension
  • Arrhythmias
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Environmental sensitivity
  • Sleep disorders
  • Drug and alcohol addiction
  • Anger
  • Heart failure
  • Chronic pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • Eating disorders

“Since emotional processes can work faster than the mind, it takes a power stronger than the mind to bend perception, override emotional circuitry, and provide us with intuitive feeling instead,” said Doc Childre, HeartMath Institute founder. “It takes the power of the heart.”

HeartMath is a registered trademark of Quantum Intech, Inc. Source material – the HeartMath Institute, www.heartmath.org

Further reading:

To learn about neurocardiology and the heart-brain connection, please visit www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/heart-brain-communication/

To learn about resilience and self-regulation, please visit (www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/resilience-stress-and-emotions/).

Learn about chronic health and stress-induced conditions at www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/health-outcome-studies/.

 

Submitted by Dina Stephenson, certified HeartMath mentor, with excerpts from the HeartMath® Institute.

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