I discovered The Institute of HeartMath several years ago when I was a Nursing student. I was so impressed by the work they were doing and I knew so many people could benefit from it that I felt I needed to get the word out to as many people as possible.
My schedule was so jam packed with school back then that I didn’t have the time—nor the extra money—to take the Certified HeartMath Practitioner course. Thankfully they now offer an online course, and I am finally able to call myself a Certified HeartMath Practitioner after completing it. Even though the particular course I completed was for people working in the Health Care field (the great majority of which seemed to be practicing psychologists), the HeartMath protocols can be learned and applied by practically anyone and the best part is, you don’t have to take a course or pay a dime to master them. Read on…
HeartMath has over 20 years of research on the heart-brain connection. I was shocked to discover that the electrical impulse of the heart is 40 - 60 times stronger than that of the brain. If you ask almost anyone, they will tell you most assuredly that the brain is the master control system of the entire body, but according to the HeartMath Institute, not so much!
The heart and the brain are always in communication with one another, however an interesting fact is that the heart sends much more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. It’s true, our thoughts and emotions play an important role in our heart-brain connection and whenever we think negative thoughts and/or have stressful emotions we are not in a state of harmony, which is also referred to as coherence.
It turns out, most people live their lives out of coherence because of constant negative emotions, thoughts and a high stress state, which according to loads of research puts one at risk for almost every disease and ailment known to mankind.
On the other hand, when we focus on positive thoughts and feel positive emotions like appreciation and gratitude, we move into a state of coherence or heart-brain synchronization and you guessed it, risk factors for all the bad stuff go way down.
This state of coherence has an abundance of benefits including:
- Stress Reduction - increases happy hormones DHEA, decreases stress hormones like cortisol.
- Higher performance
- Increased emotional stability
- Healthier immune system
- Enhanced creativity
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased longevity
- Improved relationships
- Greater health & fitness
- Increased ability to focus
- Opens the Heart Chakra
The cool thing about HeartMath is the technology it offers called the EmWave, which uses either an ear sensor or finger monitor that allows you to actually measure your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to see in real time whether you are in or out of coherence. I remember placing the ear sensor on my ear for the first time and the instant that I started focusing my mind on negative thoughts, my HRV showed a radical incoherent pattern, but within seconds of focusing my thoughts on happiness and appreciation my HRV became smooth and this meant that I was once again in coherence.
Here is the HeartMath Quick Coherence® Technique:
Step 1: Heart Focus. Focus your attention on the area around your heart, the area in the center of your chest. If you prefer, for the first couple of times you try it, place your hand over the center of your chest to help keep your attention in the heart area.
Step 2: Heart Breathing. Breathe deeply, but normally, and imagine that your breath is coming in and going out through your heart area. Continue breathing with ease until you find a natural inner rhythm that feels good to you.
Step 3: Heart Feeling. As you maintain your heart focus and heart breathing, activate a positive feeling. Recall a time when you felt good inside, and try to re-experience that feeling. One of the easiest ways to generate a positive, heart-based feeling is to remember a special place you’ve been to or the love you feel for a close friend or family member or treasured pet. This is the most important step.
HeartMath has several other really amazing techniques that I won’t get into on this post. The Quick Coherence technique is a great place to start and you can practice it anytime and practically anyplace. In step 3 I find it easiest to focus on appreciation and gratitude, but for some people I have taught they find it easier to think of a pet or a happy place, you can practice and find out what works the best for you. I recommend practicing it in the morning and at night before bed, it is also a very effective tool to have in your back pocket during stressful situations. You can use it during your day at work and right before important meetings. The more you practice, the easier it comes!
Cheers to living a more stress-free, heart-centered, loving and grateful life.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
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