As I briefly touched upon in my previous article, HeartMath: The Heart Is More Powerful Than The Brain, we know that the Institute of HeartMath has established over 20 years of extensive scientific research concerning the interactions between heart activity and brain function. Let’s now take a closer look into the scientific explanations that support these discoveries from HeartMath.
The Shifting Rhythm of the Heart
Science once assumed that the heart at rest beats similar to a metronome, which ticks at a steady rate and consistent rhythm. This is measured when visiting your physician, who takes your pulse and records your average heart rate at a certain number of beats per minute. Moment-to-moment fluctuations of the heartbeat are commonly overlooked. Utilizing electrocardiography and electromagnetic wave technology, scientists are able to evaluate the precise heart rate between each heartbeat interval called heart rate variability. HeartMath’s studies demonstrate that a healthy heart beats irregularly, even when at rest. Your heart does not beat like clockwork, but rather naturally shifts its rhythm in a remarkable way.
The Significance of Heart Rate Variability
You may now be wondering how this applies to you. Your heart is constantly responding to how you are reacting at every given moment. Consider this, someone cuts you off while driving. If this brings about feelings of outrage, then that will be represented in extreme chaotic fluctuations of your heartbeat. If you viewed this circumstance as trivial, then your heart rate variability will retain its established pattern. Heart rate variability serves to quantify the physiological resiliency and behavioral flexibility of experiences, meaning your ability to cope with stress and your adaptability in given situations. By grasping these details about how your heart is beating, you can apply this understanding to your own ability to deal with the demands of everyday life.
The Force of Emotions
Emotion is the most influential factor that affects the shifting rhythm between heartbeats. This is found to be especially accurate when the same emotion is repetitively experienced, or perpetuated over long periods of time. HeartMath research shows that when heart rate variability is plotted over time, the overall shape of the waveform is called the heart rhythm pattern. The heart rhythm pattern is a reflection of your emotional state. Negative emotions, such as aggravation, anger, stress, or anxiety, cause an irregular heart rhythm pattern. This pattern is known as incoherence, seen as a waveform sequence of erratically jagged peaks on an electrocardiogram. When your heart is responding to negative emotions, it actually causes your body to operate incompetently by depleting your energy. In contrast, positive emotions have an opposite effect on your heart rhythm pattern. Positive emotions, such as love, joy, gratitude, and compassion, are seen as a waveform sequence of harmonious heart rhythms with smoothly organized peaks. When your heart is responding to and sustaining positive emotions the heart achieves a body wide shift known as coherence, a total balance of energy. Coherence is a synchrony of mental, emotional, and physical functions.
Striving for Coherence
Coherence is not the same as relaxation, a low energy state typically disengaged from cognitive and emotional thoughts. Coherence is achieved by actively engaging your thoughts in a way that allows you to feel genuine positive emotion. Once intentionally reaching coherence, you experience a state of balance and clarity that will provide you with an acute sense of awareness. Accomplishing coherence also yields benefits in mental focus, clear emotions, and physical coordination. Simply speaking, think thoughts that make you feel good. Do whatever it takes to be happy and from that place of happiness do everything else. It is that simple to work towards a coherent state of being. Strive for coherence always, as it is the optimal state of responsiveness for everyday living and the interactions of life.
We Are Change