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New scientific discoveries show your heart’s rhythms reflect emotional states and have profound effects on brain function. Fortunately, you can control this.

I recently attended a Conference where I witnessed an unhappy interaction due to a simple misinterpretation. One of the breakout group leaders become triggered. Her reactions were swift, and, as is often the case, sadly disproportionate to the situation. The resulting loss of trust from her group was evidenced by their reluctance to re-engage, and in the remaining time available, the leader failed to reconnect with the participants.

There was no doubt this leader (let’s call her Sasha) had prepared for the occasion and knew the topic. But what was intended as a helpful suggestion by a member of the group, was perceived by Sasha as a threat to her control and management.

And she exploded.  Over a simple misinterpretation of intent.

It got me thinking . . .

What are my subconscious expectations when I participate in a group situation?  Do I come believing others are co-creators with valuable contributions to make, or competitors I must be wary of?

How do others read me?  Do they see me as someone willing to collaborate and work cooperatively, or as protective of my own ideas and with a position to defend?

As I reflected, I recognised again the importance of anticipating the best from others no matter how different their view; of not only having an open mind, but also an open heart. If I have an attitude of appreciation for others and an expectation that their suggestions come from a place of helpfulness, how many distressing or unhelpful interactions would I avoid?

Like most people, I’d rather feel loving and appreciative than fearful and resentful. But in a world which seems to be spinning out of control, it’s not always easy to maintain emotional equilibrium.

        THE HEART BRAIN

New discoveries by neuroscientists reveal the presence of a ‘brain’ in the heart, an independent nervous system relaying information back to the brain in our heads.

In the 1970s John and Beatrice Lacey found that when the brain sent “orders” to the heart, the heart didn’t automatically obey but responded as if it had its own distinctive logic. At the time, this concept was met with scepticism.

Now there is scientific evidence that the heart sends us emotional and intuitive signals to help govern our lives. Anthropologists tell us almost all human cultures have considered the heart as a source of wisdom, feeling and courage.

In 1996 Daniel Goleman’s book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ evidenced that success in life is dependant more on our ability to manage our emotions than on our intellectual capabilities, and that a lack of success is most frequently due to our mismanagement of emotions.

“The question” Goleman says, “is how can we bring intelligence to our emotions – and civility to our streets and caring to our communal life?’ [1]

The internationally recognised Institute of HeartMath in California believes the answer lies in cultivating heart intelligence. They don’t see the heart as ‘mushy or sentimental’ but intelligent and powerful.

Their experiments have demonstrated that without the guiding influence of our heart, we easily fall prey to reactive emotions such as insecurity, anger, fear and blame, as well as other energy-draining reactions and behaviours.

Our emotional states are reflected in our heart rhythms, the patterns of heart beats.  Just 35 years ago doctors thought that a steady heart rate was a sign of good health. Now we know it’s normal for the heart rate to vary, even when we’re asleep.

Our heart rhythms affect the brain’s ability to process information, make decisions, solve problems, and experience and express creativity.

The Institute found that negative emotions created jagged and disordered heart rhythms, while positive emotions such as love, care and appreciation produced smooth, harmonious heart rhythms, and increased order and balance in the nervous systems.

And not only did these coherent rhythms reduce stress, enhance immunity and improve hormonal balance, they were shown to enhance people’s ability to clearly perceive the world around them.

ACCESS YOUR HEART FOR A SMARTER BRAIN

We can intentionally alter our emotional state through heart-focused techniques, and when we do so, we modify messages from the heart to the brain, facilitating higher brain function.

As a result of their research, the Institute developed techniques that enabled their research participants to generate a state of inner balance and harmony at will, even in the workplace. Participants also consistently reported increased mental clarity and intuition (in-sight).

If you’d like to access your heart’s intelligence and experience more balance, less stress, enhanced communication and better relationships, connect with me. I’d be delighted to help.

[1] Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, p. 47.

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