“Always listen to your heart, because even though it’s on your left side, it’s always right.” – Nicholas Sparks, Author
Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s the day of the year to celebrate love. Genuine love for your sweetheart, love for your family, love for your dear friends and of course we must include love for yourself!
In honor of this annual traditional holiday, it’s the perfect opportunity to discuss the organ that symbolizes that very special emotion of love – the human heart. Aside from this powerful, relentless muscle and essential, electrical organ pumping blood, oxygen and nutrients to the entire body, it has some other profound qualities that are nothing short of miraculous.
Here are some interesting facts about the human heart:
- The heart beats on average 115,000 times per day and pumps about 2500 gallons of blood every day.
- The heart can continue to beat outside of the human body (for a brief time) due to it’s own inherent electrical pacemaker. In other words, it’s not entirely controlled by the brain.
- The best way to strengthen the heart (the hardest working muscular organ in the body) is through both cardiovascular exercise AND muscle strengthening exercise.
- The heart emits electromagnetic fields several feet away from the body that can change based on your emotions.
- The heart actually sends more information through the nervous system to the brain than the brain sends to the heart.
- The heart contains memory neurons that can send signals to the brain that can trigger memories and affect our emotions.
- In the developing fetus during pregnancy, the heart is the first functioning organ to develop and starts to beat around day 21 – before the brain develops.
- The mother’s brainwaves become in sync with the in utero baby’s heartbeat.
- Broken Heart Syndrome (aka Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy) is an actual condition (usually temporary) caused by severe emotional and/or physical distress like the loss of a loved one, sudden illness, serious accident or catastrophe.
For the past 25 years, a leading research and educational organization called the HeartMath Institute located in Boulder Creek, California has focused on studying the physiology, biophysics, communication and the resonating relationship between the human heart, the brain and how that affects human behavior and relationships with others. There is an amazing and beautiful intelligence and intuition within the heart and the brain that continues to be unveiled.
Their studies and their trainings have involved settings in healthcare, the workplace, academic universities, the military and at their headquarters in California as well as across the country. There are over 300 peer-reviewed and independent studies that have been published using HeartMath techniques, training and technologies. It is a fascinating body of research and information!
There’s a special term emphasized by the HeartMath Institute called “Physiological or Heart Coherence.” This is characterized by aligning, uniting and synchronizing the heart, brain, body and emotions. With the heart and brain harmonizing with one another, this creates a healthier, more stabilized effect on not only your physical and emotional health, it also influences the lives of others.
Building physiological heart coherence can certainly occur in the presence of other people and your pets (which produces the most profound effect) but it can also occur through a collaborative, conscious and intentional effort across the world. And with the internet expanding globally, the opportunities to build coherence are unlimited.
Through the research, education and technology at HeartMath Institute, they are dedicated to helping people better manage stress and emotional distress like loss, grief, trauma, sadness, anger and instead focus on stabilizing emotions, enhancing healing, building resilience and helping sustain positive changes to live healthier, productive and happier lives. Most significantly, they are committed to promoting personal, social and global coherence across the world.
Feeling emotions such as love, gratitude, compassion, empathy, cooperation, kindness, generosity, being of service and support to others can build heart coherence and help people to feel and act with more creativity, innovation, problem solving and decisiveness in their personal and professional lives.
Think about how calm and “connected” you feel when communicating with someone that truly listens, understands, respects and loves you. The heart creates a more harmonized, stabilized, healthy rhythm.
Feeling emotions like rage, jealously, aggressiveness, revenge, despair, isolation and stress cause people to feel more self focused, disconnected and can lead to disharmony, dysfunction and illness in the body, heart and brain. This diminishes heart coherence.
Think about how agitated, hurt and disconnected you feel when communicating with someone who insults, disregards, abuses and manipulates you. The heart creates a more erratic, chaotic and abnormal rhythm.
You don’t need fancy equipment, expensive devices or pay for training classes to build physiological heart coherence. Here are some ways you can enhance it naturally:
- Practice feelings of gratitude and appreciation
- Practice loving kindness for others and yourself
- Slow deep breathes focused on oxygen going into and out of the heart
- Practice meditation even for just a few minutes a day
- Prayer for people you know, prayer for people you don’t know across the world and prayer for yourself
- Being of service to others – either in your family, friendships, professionally and/or in a volunteer role
- Get regular exercise to physically and energetically strengthen the heart, brain and body (yoga is excellent for this, but any form can work)
- Practicing tuning in to your inner guidance and voice
- Go hiking in nature
- Quiet the chatter and noise: Practice spending time alone in silence without your phone, computer, TV, radio and other people. This is very difficult for most people.
- Take responsibility for how you treat others and understand how that domino effect impacts others and the world
The health benefits of practicing heart and brain coherence include:
- Slower resting heart rate
- Harmonized rhythm of the heart
- Lower blood pressure
- Better sleep
- More regular digestion
- Calmer emotions and mood
- Stronger intuitive access and flow
- Less ego and fear based reactions
- Greater sense of focus and direction
- More productive, effective and successful at work
- Healthier and deeper relationships with others and your pets
- Feeling a greater sense of fulfillment in life
- Collaborative feeling of synergy, connection and belonging
By choosing to listen to and follow the heart and the brain, love with an open heart towards others and towards yourself, treat others with compassion and understand that we are all truly connected, life is better, sweeter and more coherently harmonized. And that makes for a happier you and a happier world.
To learn more, please visit:https://www.heartmath.com
Dr. Kristi Tompkins