Affairs of the Heart

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A couple of years ago, a friend of mine, who is an eminent psychologist in his field of educational psychology briefly told me about a product that he had been shown. He was connected to a PC by a sensor on his fingertip that was plugged in to a usb port. Combined with the software running on the PC, this device recorded his heart beat. Nothing new in that I thought. He then went on to explain that what this device did was to analyse not just the heartbeat, but the way your heart was beating. He explained that these people had discovered that, to put it simply, the way your heart beats is affected by your emotion. So if you are stressed or anxious or angry your heart will behave differently for each emotion. What this package did was to show you how your heart beat changed with each change in emotional state.

The objective of this system is to enable you to change the way your heart beats so that you can control it. It has many different displays, and games, that work in a biofeedback way to show you which thoughts and emotions affect your heartbeat. In fact, the latest ideas in this field are that the heart is an independent organ with its own nervous system and memory. The relationship to the brain is more symbiotic than subservient. They are more of a team than two separate organs.

I thought this was very interesting but, as it relied on separate equipment, that was at his university in England, I just let it pass. The kit my friend had used was produced by the Heartmath Institute, and, as I have now discovered, their website tells you everything. The process of controlling the heartbeat by your emotional state is called coherence and the actual method, without any biofeedback or equipment is described on the website for all to see. There is also a simple PC program to introduce you to this process called “the Coherence Coach” which you can download for $20.00. The secret lies in how you breathe and think and is very simple, so simple in fact it’s hard to believe! 

I have reproduced it for you from their website

Step 1: Heart Focus. Focus your attention on the area around your heart, the area in the center of your chest. If you prefer, the first couple of times you try it, place your over the center of your chest to help keep your attention in the heart area.

Step 2: Heart Breathing. Breathe deeply but normally and feel as if your breath is coming in and going out through your heart area. As you inhale, feel as if your breath is flowing in through the heart, and as you exhale, feel it leaving through this area. Breathe slowly and casually, a little deeper than normal. Continue breathing with ease until you find a natural inner rhythm that feels good to you.

Step 3: Heart Feeling. As you maintain your heart focus and heart breathing, activate a positive feeling. Recall a positive feeling, a time when you felt good inside, and try to re-experience the feeling. One of the easiest ways to generate a positive, heart-based feeling is to remember a special place you’ve been to or the love you feel for a close friend or family member or treasured pet. This is the most important step.

I have suffered from high blood pressure for many years, in fact few years ago I had a blocked artery which caused a stroke. So, I thought, if it works for me it’s got to be good. I have been carrying out the process for a few months now and my blood pressure is now consistently lower than it has been for several years. It is an amazing coincidence that this has happened, and, as this is not a double blind clinical experiment, I cannot say specifically that the coherence process is the causative factor. Blood pressure is affected by many things, eating or drinking, the temperature, the weather, emotional states, even a doctor in white coat, can all have a bearing. However, notwithstanding all of the above, the effect on my blood pressure , since adopting the coherence breathing methods, has been dramatic and I believe that it is due to the coherence Breathing process. That is one measurable benefit that I have found, but read the stuff on the Net and you will find there are many, many, more benefits available with this simple method.

As you can see, the above process is very simple. It takes less than 5 minutes for most people to learn and 1 minute a day is all most people need to do. (I do it in bed before I get up in the morning!) Of course, you can do it as often and for as long as you like.  

Just look at the following references for more detailed information, there’s a lot of it been produced in the last 15 years of research. (Google “Heart Coherence” and see what happens!!)

http://neurofeedback.blogharbor.com/blog/_archives/2005/12/29/1362031.html
http://www.heartcoherence.com/
http://www.heartrelease.com/coherence-1.html
http://www.heartmath.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=154&Itemid

Naturally, I cannot guarantee that you will find it both easy and beneficial, but it is my sincere belief that everyone can benefit from this simple technique. If you tell two people, who tell two people, who tell two people ….etc. in a very short time we can make a big difference. So, I implore, you please pass this information on.

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