The Heart Connection
Grace Moy O’Brien
(published in EZ Magazine Australia vol. 12-18)
The human heart is one of the most amazing organs in the body. The average human heart weighs approximately 300grams, is the size of a fist, and is the life force of the body. Countless research and clinical papers over the last twenty five years show that the heart plays a crucial role in our mental, emotional and spiritual health.
According to the HeartMath Institute in California USA, the heart possesses an intelligence that enables it to learn, remember and make decisions independent to the brain. A complex network of 40,000 neurons called sensory neurites comprises the heart’s intelligence and the function of these neurites is to convey messages directly from the heart to the brain. When scientists measured the electromagnetic field of the heart in an electrocardiogram (ECG), it was found to be sixty times the amplitude of the brain as recorded in an electroencephalogram (EEG). The electromagnetic field of the heart forms a doughnut shape around the body and this is by far the most powerful electromagnetic field that we generate. Interestingly, the heart sends more instructions and information to the brain than vice versa.
So, what does all this mean for us? Well, let’s take someone who continually feels anxious, stressed or angry. The heart rate will increase, conveying a ‘fight or flight’ message to the brain. When the brain receives these stress signals, it will direct the rest of the body, for example the adrenal glands to produce stress chemicals and hormones, which will in turn reinforce the negative loop.
The reverse also applies. If we were to focus and continually feel positive emotions such as love and gratitude, we will create a powerful uplifting loop, hence changing the way we feel and the way we act.
Focusing on emotions of love and gratitude leads to what scientists refer to as heart coherence. Heart coherence refers to a smooth, and stable heart rhythm. When this happens, the brain and the heart are in sync and operating as one, much like all the instruments in an orchestra playing in tune. The benefits of this include, quality sleep, greater creativity, enhanced immune system, reduction of stress and the increased production of the anti ageing hormone, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone).
Four ways to connect with your heart:
Keep a gratitude diary. List three things that you are grateful for daily.
Heart centred meditation. Focus on the heart, and feel love and gratitude for twenty minutes daily.
Find some ‘me’ time daily.
Do things that nurture and nourish your spirit, such as massage, or having a bath.