Do you ever struggle with feelings of unworthiness, find it challenging to love yourself, or wonder if you'll ever be able to overcome the heartbreak of losing someone you love?
Do you long to experience deeper, more loving relationships, but find that the pain in your past is like a wall of protection that keeps love away? Behind that wall is there a hole in your heart that nothing seems to fill?
What if you could connect with your heart in a way that was deeply nurturing, in a way that released the pains of the past, let down your walls of protection, and helped you feel safe to love yourself and others in a way that finally healed your emotional wounds?
Research by the HeartMath Institute reveals a surprising new understanding of the heart. In this article, you'll learn four fascinating facts and a simple practice to activate the healing energy of your heart.
Let's begin with the first fact.
1. Did you know that your heart is more than a simple pump for your blood? It is a highly-complex information processing center that has a mind of its own. It is like a second brain, that is, in some ways, even more powerful than the brain in your head-and more capable of promoting deep healing.
As Director of Research for the HeartMath Institute, Rollin McCarty, Ph.D. writes:
"The heart-brain, as it is commonly called, or intrinsic cardiac nervous system, is an intricate network of complex ganglia, neurotransmitters, proteins and support cells, the same as those of the brain in the head. The heart-brain's neural circuitry enables it to act independently of the cranial brain to learn, remember, make decisions and even feel and sense."
(Science of the Heart, Volume 2: Rollin McCarty, Ph.D., HeartMath Institute, 2015, p.5)
This leads to a second fascinating fact.
2. The heart actually sends more information to the brain than it receives from the brain. This is why you can't just "think yourself better."
Your heart communicates with your body and brain through four pathways: neurologically through nerve signals, biochemically through hormones and neurotransmitters, biophysically through the pressure waves of your pulse, and energetically through electromagnetic field interactions represented in your emotions.
Because of the power of emotional signaling, the feelings experienced in your heart dramatically impact how you think and feel, as well as how well your body functions-and even how people react around you.
So, how can you put these two facts to work for you? A third finding tells that story.
3. Research has shown that self-generating positive, core-heart feelings such as appreciation, gratitude, love, and trust in your heart, shifts you into a state of optimal function and healing.
As McCarty says, "Self-induced positive emotions can shift psychophysiological systems into more globally coherent and harmonious orders that are associated with improved performance and overall well-being." (SOTH, p.28)
"The feelings we label as positive actually reflect body states that are coherent, meaning "the regulation of life processes becomes efficient, or even optimal, free-flowing and easy," and the feelings we label as "negative," such as anger, anxiety and frustration are examples of incoherent states. (SOTH, V2, p.24)
We've all experienced these shifts into and out of coherence. In moments of euphoria, all-of-a-sudden our aches and pains recede, our stress and emotional hurts fade to the background-and we feel great. Yet, the next bad mood or emotional upset is only a careless word or random thought away. Our emotional wounds are still there and easily triggered.
Is it possible to heal our hearts so we create a state of coherence that lasts?
This brings us to the fourth fact.
4. Through the consistent practice of self-generating core heart feelings, you can create a new baseline state, a new way of perceiving the world in a heart-centered way.
Every time you consciously shift into core-heart feelings, you initiate healing. The more you practice this, the easier it becomes to stay in a state of coherence for longer periods of time and the easier it is to shift back there when you are stressed or upset.
Over time, you re-pattern your dominant outlook on life. You heal the hole in your heart and create a new baseline. Calm, positive coherence becomes your default mode, the state you rest in more and more of the time.
You can begin this process very simply by closing your eyes, taking a few, slow, deep breaths, smiling into your heart, and focusing on feelings of appreciation, gratitude, love, and trust there.