By Debra Sheehan of Body Matters, Inc.
February is for Valentine’s Day and a good time to focus on your heart. Modern science is coming to the same conclusion as our wise ancestors: our hearts hold the key to our happiness, health and harmonious relationships.
Bodies under stress
A definition of stress could be “emotional unease.” It is not the event causing stress, it is our reactions/feelings to this. In a stress response, we have over 1400 biochemical reactions in the body. Cortisol levels (stress hormones) increase and DHEA levels (vitality, anti-aging hormone) decrease. High cortisol levels increase our blood pressure, sugar levels, age us, diminish our memories and accumulate fat around our midsections and thighs. Think of the times during that day that your buttons get pushed! This is the stress response (survival physiology), which drains our energy! If you could transform this stress response in the moment, you would think better, feel better and perform optimally.
We are taught the brain is our power center, and in many ways it is. However research at the Institute of HeartMath, has proven there are more neural pathways from the heart up to the brain than from the brain to the heart. The heart can perceive (intuition) things before the head can think them. Ever walk into a room and feel a vibe of tension? That perception is from your heart! When your heart is in a smooth rhythm pattern, the higher centers of the brain function optimally, and creating new neural pathways!
Heart rate variability
Heart rate variability is the beat to beat change in our hearts. Doctors look at this to see the health of our nervous system and the heart-brain interaction. Emotions influence this pattern! When we feel anger, worry, frustration, anxiety, or disappointment, a pattern is sent to the brain to minimize our higher brain centers (creativity, planning, impulse control, etc.). However, when we feel love, care, compassion and gratitude the heart sends a different pattern, and those higher centers function well. Have you ever been angry and said something you wished you had not? Yes, anger makes us stupid ;-).
The heart has the ability to entrain our brain, respiration, digestion, immune, hormone and most other systems to work harmoniously! The heart is 5,000 times more powerful than the brain magnetically. This magnetic field around the heart radiates out 5 feet and influences others. We can influence the energy around us and inside of us by feeling “heart” emotions. Feeling these emotions stops the stress response and the damage it inflicts!
Making the Shift
Next time you feel stressed try this: focus on the area around your heart, breathe deeply into your heart, shift to feelings of love and appreciation! Doing this consistently in life changes your health, performance and relationships! Every time we do this we are influencing the energy within and around us! We co-create with Spirit from the Authentic Self….our Hearts.
Debra Sheehan is a member of WBOM and owns BodyMatters, Inc. along with her husband. She has worked in the health care industry for 25 years. Using HeartMath tools & technology, Debra coaches others on ways to reduce stress and bring more heart into your life. She is trained and certified in massage therapy, orthobionomy, craniosacral and mind/body awareness. Ckick on her name to email her.