Heart Month: The heart has a powerful influence over your brain
Scientific research reveals a deep connection between the heart and brain that can give you a sharper, healthier mind – and all it takes is a little tender loving care
Obviously, the heart is one of the most important organs in the body; it keeps blood pumping which keeps us alive. Yet many people are unaware of its role as a source of intelligence within the human system, and how the heart can actually help keep the brain in shape. In fact, science has helped explain the heart’s critical role when it comes to brain fitness. For example, the heart has its own ‘little brain’ that enables the heart to learn, remember, and even feel and sense independently of the cranial brain.
Stress, information overload, time pressures and too much multitasking impedes the crucial heart-brain connection. Think of it like a radio station. When we’re stressed, the signals that the heart is trying to send to the brain have interference – kind of like static on a radio channel. However, when we are feeling balanced, happy and calm, the signal is clearer. Much like a clear radio channel, there’s a better signal between the two.
“A foundational building block that most brain fitness programs rarely address is how our heart rhythms and emotions affect our cognitive functions,” said Dr. Deborah Rozman, CEO of HeartMath and author of the book, HeartMath’s Brain Fitness Program; Connecting Heart and Mind for Optimal Performance. “Science shows that through the heart-brain connection, we can improve our minds – not by playing puzzles and games, learning a new language or musical instrument – but by learning heart-based emotional self-regulation skills.”
Listen to Your Heart
The heart is able to communicate with the brain through each and every heartbeat interval. The heart’s rhythm contains instructions for the brain, directly impacting how well we function mentally. Your heart rhythm affects the way the brain perceives and processes information, which can either hinder or assist mental functions and performance.
As we learn to shift out of stressful emotions such as, anxiety, irritation, frustration and anger we can clear the static in our system, and we enhance the heart-brain connection, or our emotional balance and mental clarity.
Your Heart has a Mind of Its Own…Literally
Your heart is processing a lot more information than you might expect. The heart has some similar properties to your cranial brain, such as an intricate network of neurons, neurotransmitters, proteins, and support cells. This ‘little brain’ within the heart contains an estimated 40,000 neurons that have been shown to have both short and long term memory capabilities. As we age, our memory, focus and concentration are more vulnerable. Research suggests that people who have a healthy heart may have better memory function than those who experience heart health issues.
The heart’s power should not be underestimated—especially when being compared to the brain. The heart’s electrical voltage is about 60 times greater in amplitude when compared to the electrical activity produced by the brain. This voltage is so strong, that it permeates through every cell in the body.
Since the heart’s electromagnetic field is so widespread throughout the body, it has an influential effect on your entire body’s communicative process – meaning it affects the way you perceive and react to the world around you. This component is roughly 100 times stronger than the electromagnetic field that is generated by the brain.
What’s Love Got to Do With It?
Emotions such as love, care, and appreciation are powerful influencers that can improve your overall well-being any day. Positive heart-felt emotions help guide the heart rhythm pattern into what science calls ‘heart coherence.’ When the heart’s rhythms are in this coherent pattern, it helps increase the neural signals sent from the heart to the brain.
Increasing the amount of time we spend in a positive emotional state is a key factor in creating heart coherence and in improving and sustaining cognitive functions. Utilizing techniques like the HeartMath Quick Coherence® technique – or incorporating activities that encourage positive emotions like volunteering, spending time with family or friends and spending time in nature – can help increase heart-coherence. Positive emotions like love, care and appreciation act like a tonic for the mind-brain processes.
Learn the Quick Coherence® technique:
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 hand over the center of your chest to help keep your attention in the heart area.
Step 2: Heart Breathing. Breathe deeply, but normally, and imagine that your breath is coming in and going out through your heart area. 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.
Additionally, we can learn to retrain our body’s response to stress and improve our brain fitness by incorporating technology. For example, the Inner Balance trainer uses an app and sensor that plugs into a smart phone or tablet so you can quickly learn to monitor your heart rhythms while it coaches you through the techniques.
The partnership between the heart and brain is both unique and fascinating, and while new to science, it has been part of many cultural and spiritual traditions for ages. Now that science has confirmed that the heart plays a significant role in brain function, people can learn to connect with their heart to increase their brain fitness – and ultimately, increase the quality of life.
For more information, please visit: http://www.heartmathstore.com/item/BD3000/brain-fitness-ebook
HeartMath Brain Fitness Program – Connecting Heart and Mind for Optimal Performance
By Deborah Rozman, Ph.D. and Rollin McCraty, Ph.D.
Explore how your brain works and learn how to make it work better
Emotional stress, the strains of modern life and aging all can hasten cognitive decline. Memory, focus and concentration are especially vulnerable, but you can actually learn to take care of your brain, improve mental functions, remain alert and develop your brainpower. The new HeartMath Brain Fitness Program book explores the critical relationship between our emotions and the brain. It describes the heart’s role in shaping and controlling our emotions and communicating with the brain. Learn how to harness your neuroplasticity, the brain’s capacity for changing and rewiring itself. Learn to raise your heart coherence to promote emotional stability, optimal cognitive performance and harmonious function across all of your body’s systems. This wonderful research-based work lays out a practical and simple method for using HeartMath techniques and technology to improve and sustain your cognitive abilities throughout your life.
- 82 pages; detailed color illustrations, charts, graphics
- Fall in love with your brain and your heart
- Heart-Brain Communication
- Benefits of positive emotions
- Self-directedness and leadership
- Increasing Brain Power with Heart Power
- HeartMath Brain Fitness Five-Step Program
- Detailed instructions for 5 HeartMath techniques
- Integrating emWave® and Inner Balance® technologies
- Action plan
- HeartMath brain-fitness outcomes
- Additional resources
Readers can purchase the book here: http://www.heartmathstore.com/item/BD3000/brain-fitness-ebook.
(Sponsored by the publisher and/or publicist)
We are offering 1 lucky commenter a copy of HEARTMATH BRAIN FITNESS PROGRAM. This is for a digital copy!
Giveaway will run from 3/29 until 4/4/2014.
My Thoughts on this title coming soon on our sister site, MyBookAddictionReviews
We hope you will stop by and check it out!
Thanks everyone! Have a great weekend!!