Institute of HeartMath has generated a large body of convincing scientific evidence that it is indeed possible to create love. HeartMath’s research shows that emotions work much faster, and are more powerful, than thoughts. And that—when it comes to the human body—the heart is much more important than the brain to overall health and well-being—even cognitive function—than anyone but poets believed. Its dominance inside the body is now clearly demonstrated. Thinking clearly with your brain is useful. But feeling positively from your heart provides an amazing boost to health and creativity.
Briefly re-experiencing a cherished memory creates synchronization in your heart rhythm in mere seconds. This increases the release of healthy, energizing hormones, while at the same time decreasing levels of damaging stress hormones, at the same time your immune system is strengthened, blood pressure decreases … and health and focus increase. Using a simple prescription that consists of a number of exercises that anyone can do anywhere in a few minutes—the details are coming shortly—HeartMath is successfully battling the greatest threat to health, happiness and peace in this world: stress.
HeartMath programs utilize an innovative biofeedback system—developed by founder Doc Childre—whereby your finger or ear is hooked up to a sensor that shows the heart’s activity on a computer screen. The feedback is not a precondition for the result of the HeartMath exercises, but seeing your heart rhythms live on a computer screen makes it easier to convince critics of the favourable effect of positive feelings.
Measuring internal feelings using modern instruments is not new in itself. For example, with the help of the electroencephalogram (EEG), it has been proven that meditating yogis produce completely different brain waves than—say—stock traders on Wall Street. But HeartMath’s heart-driven method extends much further than relaxation through meditation. McCraty notes, “Meditation is mainly geared towards consciously separating yourself from the reality around you. That has totally different physical consequences than our approach, which is geared towards actively adding positive energy to a particular situation.”
To measure the heart’s reaction to particular events, HeartMath uses a relatively new concept—one that is currently a hot item in mainstream medicine—as an indicator of a healthily functioning body: heart rate variability (HRV). Research conducted 10 years ago by Dr Andrew Armour of Dalhouse University in Halifax, Canada showed that the heart has its own neural network–in essence, a little brain. HRV—the rhythm of the time period between two heartbeats—plays a key role in that network. It has now been demonstrated that the heart sends signals to the brain and the hormonal system via nerves which carry the heart rhythm patterns. It doesn’t matter so much how many times a heart beats per minute; it’s the rhythm of the heartbeat that counts.
Childre, McCraty and HeartMath’s research team have discovered that certain patterns in the heart rhythm correspond to a particular emotional state. McCraty explains, “With every heartbeat, information is supplied that affects our emotions, our physical health and the quality of our lives.” This means that feelings of compassion, love, care and appreciation produce a smoothly rolling—HeartMath calls it “coherent”—heart rhythm, while feelings of anger, frustration, fear and danger emit a jagged and capricious—”incoherent”—image. But this is more than a statistical difference. HeartMath’s research shows that a different heart rhythm leads to other chemical and electrical–even neurological--reactions in the body.
Simply put: when people experience love, they not only feel happy and joyful, but they also produce, for example, more DHEA, the hormone that prevents aging, and gives us feelings of youthful vitality. Not surprisingly, a synthetic form of the hormone is currently sold in pill form at drugstores and health food stores. At the same time, the production of damaging stress hormones like cortisol is reduced. High levels of cortisol have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression and fatigue. By contrast, a “loving body” absorbs less cholesterol, thereby preventing arteries from clogging while boosting production of immunoglobulin A, an important biochemical that boosts immune function. In addition, blood pressure stabilizes. McCraty links this effect to problems many organizations face: “There is a clear connection between healthcare costs and blood pressure levels. When your blood pressure falls, so do visits to the doctor…” And so HeartMath concludes that love is both an emotional and a physical state: positive feelings—like love—generate health. The reverse is also true. Someone who is angry produces less DHEA and more cortisol. And so on. HeartMath’s slogan—a change of heart changes everything—pretty much sums it up.
But how do you “change your heart?” According to HeartMath research, it is much simpler than it looks. McCraty says, “If you consciously shift your attention to a positive emotion, like appreciation or care, or if you allow your thoughts to return to the feeling of a cherished memory, your heart rhythm changes immediately.
Here is a simple Heart Math Exercise I first posted a few years ago (but still great) for you to try again.
Step 1: Heart Focus
Gently focus your attention on your in the area of your heart.It may help to place your hand over your heart. If your mind wanders just keep bringing your attention back to the area of your heart.
As you focus on the area of your heart , pretend your breath is flowing in and out through that area. This helps your mind and energy to stay focused and your respiration and hearth rhythms to synchronise. Breath slowly and gently, until your breathing feels smooth and balanced.
As you continue to breathe, recall a positive feeling, a time when you ' felt good inside.' Now try
to re experience the feeling. This could be a feeling of appreciation or care toward a special person, a pet, a place you enjoy, or an activity that was fun. Allow yourself to really' feel ' this good feeling of appreciation or care. If you can't feel anything, it's okay, just try to find a sincere attitude of appreciation or care. Once you have found a positive feeling or attitude, you can sustain it by continuing your heart focus, heart breathing, and heart feeling.
I have found that finding simple happy feelings work best for me - the feeling in my body when I'm giving a hug to someone I love.