Science and the Heart
Neurocardiology, Psychoimmunology (Mind-Body) and Energy Psychology have all made significant contributions to what we now know about the heart and its role in our health and happiness. The InstituteofHeartMath, a research institute in Boulder Creek,CA, has been a major contributor to this research and has helped to provide a much clearer picture of the heart’s role in emotions, heart-brain communication, and stress physiology than ever before.
IHM furthered research into the HOW of heart logic and more specifically how it influenced behavior. They determined that through creating coherent heart rhythms, the primitive emotional centers of the brain no longer dominated and a clearer perspective emerged that enabled greater intelligence to be brought to life.
Heart Intelligence in Real Life
I have seen the effectiveness of heart intelligence in my personal life as well as in that of my clients’ lives. As we learn how to focus in an open spacious way we can bring calmness to emotional turmoil, and often spontaneously have realizations that lead to greater understanding, meaning, resolution or healing of a particular dilemma underlying our distress. These realizations come easily, effortlessly and often lead us in a whole new direction that is much more beneficial than if we solely relied on the lower mind to problem solve and try to plan or mentally bully our way out of problems.
The Intuitive Heart
Another area that has been studied extensively at IHM is intuition. It has been found that not only is emotional intelligence enhanced by engaging the heart but it is also possible to develop greater wisdom and intuition as the heart is “used” in positive and health enhancing ways.
IHM has developed a simple straightforward approach that involves focusing on the heart, breath and feelings of gratitude or appreciation for a period of time as in meditation or using it on the spot in stressful situations. This helps to lead people out of knee jerk reactivity based on negatives emotions and helps to restore inner harmony. In addition to the psychological benefits, this method also has been found to have a highly beneficial effect on physical health.
Some of the benefits are:
Balanced heart rhythms and hormone levels
Increased DHEA (Helps slow changes associated with aging)
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a natural hormone produced by your adrenal glands that helps to regulate the overall balance of hormones in your body. DHEA fuels your body. Your body produces the highest levels during your twenties and then naturally declines with age. Insufficient DHEA contributes to problems with your immune system, fatigue, depression, bone and muscle mass and much more. Getting adequate rest, regular exercise and some exposure to sunlight contribute to healthy DHEA levels.
Studies have also shown beneficial effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, ADD and a myriad of psychological conditions. The magic of heart based approaches seems to be a result of the creation of coherent rhythms which result in more healthy and effective signals to the brain that encourage it to send healthier signals back down through the whole body.
Over the past few decades it has been learned that the heart actually has a brain of its own and that IT sends more messages to the brain than the other way around. This means that the heart with proper management can be a source of emotional intelligence that can help to calm the more primitive impulsive reactivity of the brain in addition to helping to develop intuition and insight.
Next post: 9 Keys for Using Heart Intelligence for Health and Happiness