There is a part of your body that may be even more important with regards to your mood and emotions than your brain.
Researchers have found this organ actually sends signals to the brain which the brain responds to. When this organ doesn’t function optimally due to stress, it sends a signal to the brain that can depress the immune function for several hours. But with a simple technique researchers have discovered, this organ can send a positive signal to the brain that triggers healing and vitality. Many people have reported improvements in chronic health conditions by applying this one simple technique.
That organ is the heart and the research being done on it comes from the Heartmath Institute at Heartmath.org. They’ve been able to measure something called Heart Rate Variability and make associations between HRV and various health conditions in the body. The simplest explanation is that a high HRV (which is termed coherence) is created when one is in a low to no stress state and feeling positive emotions such as love, joy, gratitude, care, forgiveness, etc.
On the contrary, when there’s a low HRV (which many people in modern stressful times experience chronically), the immune system gets depressed and the body breaks down. In essence, your emotions (tied to stress) play as much or more of a role in your health than your diet and exercise do!
What’s even more amazing is that the heart emits a measurable electromagnetic field. We can subconsciously pick up on a person’s heart rate pattern when we’re in their presence. Researchers have been able to prove this and provide a scientific explanation as to why you can get good or bad “vibes” from someone whenever they walk into a room. The age old idea of your heart being where your emotions reside and the value of listening to your heart has gathered a lot of scientific confirmation.
Here’s a simple exercise to reduce stress and create a high HRV state. This can be done in combination with a meditation practice or on its own.
- Place your hand on your heart and imagine your breathe coming in and out of the heart area.
- Bring your focus to the present moment. Imagine your heart pulling in all scattered thoughts and feelings.
- Think of anything that brings feelings of joy, care, and/or gratitude. I myself focus on gratitude and ask “What am I grateful for?”“Why am I grateful for these things?”“What should I be grateful for?”
- Allow yourself to simply relax into the feeling of your heart and these positive emotions for 5-10 minutes as best as you can. It’s ok if it doesn’t come naturally at first. With regular practice this will be become easier. You’re training yourself to enter into a higher HRV state more readily and more often without any effort.