Years ago, I took a philosophy class and the professor and the class (including me) were laughing at the medieval idea that the heart was the seat of wisdom. Wasn’t that funny, we thought, that, centuries ago, people didn’t understand the function of the brain?
Well, isn’t it funny that we are now realizing how true this medieval concept really was? Research at the HeartMath Institute explains how the heart plays an extraordinary role in our lives far beyond what is commonly known. We are just discovering how the heart and the brain communicate with each other, and that the heart sends more information to the brain than the other way around. Did you know that your heart sends out electromagnetic fields that change according to the state of your emotions?
There is a physical/emotional state called “coherence”. What that means is that when we are feeling a great positive emotion, such as seeing a beautiful sunset, having a laughing child running into our arms, etc., we are in a state of “coherence”, meaning, our hearts are putting out great activity with encoded messages. These messages impact us in a positive way – and the people around us as well – as they are in our orbit of electromagnetic activity. Their hearts can pick up and read our activity. Happiness is contagious. No one is in isolation. We are all connected.
And what is really great is that you can get into a state of heart coherence any time you want, wherever you are. You do this by closing your eyes, breathing slowly in and out, and as you do so, you concentrate on feeling as if you are breathing in and out through your heart. It helps to place your hand over your heart. Don’t worry if you don’t feel this right away, as it gets easier and more powerful with each try. After a minute of two of feeling centered and calm breathing and out through your heart area, think of something for which you are grateful for that day, for someone or something in your life or something that happened or something for which you could feel a sense of gratitude. If you can, think of three things for which you are grateful. You can be grateful for your beating heart, your lungs, and your mind, directing you to do this exercise. And after a few minutes of being present to state of gratitude and breathing deeply and slowly, I guarantee you will feel more calm, centered, and happy. It’s a great de-stressor during work, or going to sleep, or when you just want to shift your mood.
Just as negative emotions flood our nervous system with chaos, positive emotions can actually improve our health and boost our immune system. Click on these two short videos to learn more, and give it a try for yourself, and you will see how wise those medieval philosophers truly were.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kyfm5_LLxow (Mysteries of the Heart…Did You Know?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp-r_f8-qz8 (Science of the Heart)