Why Heart Matters

Using our hearts to speak to our brains to shape our lives

What does being Heart-Centered mean?

Being heart-centered means coming back to the heart, the physical and symbolic, to lead oneself in life or even in one domain of life or even just one event or endeavor. Heart implies care, respect, fairness, nurturing, love and many other of humanity’s finest virtues and capacities.

But most people don’t live from the heart as fully as they can or want to. And we are not the better for it.

HeartRich, as a coaching/training company  (even though I’m only one guy right now)  makes every effort to put the human heart at the center of everything we do to help people learn how to Live, Love & Lead from the Heart.

I’ll get to the most familiar but unfortunately not most highly valued or honored traits of the heart later. First, let me share a bit about they physical heart that we ‘kinda’ knew but didn’t have proof for. Now we do, and it’s good!

The Heart Can Speak to the Brain

There is a field of science called Neuro-Cardiology (aka Psycho-Cardiology) that recognizes the heart is way more than just an incredible blood pump, and is involved in bi-directional communication with the brain.

The heart sends information to the brain, in fact it sends more information to the brain than the other way around. If we can change the ‘state’ of our heart, with thought and intention, we can communicate to our brains.

Many of us tend to unknowingly communicate false messages of danger and threat, reinforcing a stress response until we are living chronically in a highly aroused/stressed/taxed state of being much or most of the time.

Experience and scientific evidence show that we can intervene at the heart level and communicate messages of safety and well-being to our brains instead, reinforcing a positive response, nurturing health and enabling us to be our best selves – within and without – in our inner worlds and in our relationships with others and the world.

Coming back to the heart, we can bring our nervous systems, brains and hearts into a more optimal state by learning to generate coherence and shape our lives and who we are choosing to be, in the moment.

Psycho-Physiological Coherence

When in a coherent state, and by increasing your baseline coherence level with regular practice:

  • our body’s systems function more efficiently,
  • we mitigate against stress & boost immune function,
  • we manage ourselves more intelligently,
  • we’re more emotionally stable, calm & compassionate,
  • we have more mental clarity,
  • we boost our ability to think more creatively & effectively,
  • we manage our energy better, increasing resilience,
  • we have more inner balance, focus & concentration,
  • we increase our performance & productivity,
  • we improve our decision making,
  • we increase our ability to tune in to & use our intuition,
  • we improve our collaboration with others,
  • we simply feel better, think better, relate better and perform better.

How does the heart do this?

I owe it to The HeartMath Institute’s research and training over the past several decades to explain it, and to inform us with their proven practices being used all over the world by organizations like: medical centers, universities, NASA, military, first responders, businesses, and many more.

HeartMath’s practices exercise and involve the heart, the mind, the emotions and the breath to help us generate coherence and create a more optimal state of being, which helps us mitigate against the effects of long term stress, build resilience, and improve how we experience stressors in the present, ultimately improving our psychological, emotional and physical well-being.

Here are a few important links for HeartMath:

Science of the Heart

HeartMath Resources

Intro to HeartMath

Please visit www.heartmath.org to learn more. Better yet, I highly encourage you to watch The HeartMath Experience and begin your coherence training on your own.

The HeartMath Experience

The link to the course is Experience.HeartMath.com

But wait, there’s more…

The Polyvagal Theory

In addition to HeartMath’s research and practices, I have been studying the highly important field of Trauma, to understand it and it’s effects on the mind and the body, for several years and have learned much from Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal Theory.

From it, and in alignment with HeartMath’s research and practices, we can clearly see the importance of developing higher Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and Vagal Tone. It helps open us up to and connect us to our Social Engagement System. Simultaneously putting the brakes on our Sympathetic Nervous System’s chronic dominance in our stress response patterns, which we know leads to illness and disease – mental as well as physical.

When we are in our Social Engagement System, a branch of our Autonomic Nervous System, our bodies and minds support and work towards health, growth and restoration.

In this sate, we are open hearted, and feel safe and connected.

As a result, we are really at our best (in terms of functioning and mood and ways of relating to others) and experience a state of flow, connection, calm, creativity, and compassion. Simultaneously, our immune systems function more optimally, as well as nearly every other life-sustaining capacity.

To learn more how these fit together and how we can cultivate resilience and well-being, please read The Heart of Resilience.

 

The Symbolic Heart

I also put the symbolic or figurative heart at the center of everything I offer my clients, and what I mean by that is probably stating the obvious but I’ll explain anyway.

For eons, our ancestors have known about the special qualities of the human heart – it’s where we seem to feel love and other emotions so strongly, we feel it’s the core of who we are – our Self.

I call on the heart in much the same way, helping people let go of the grip of the incessantly thinking mind (monkey mind), especially when it’s being hyper-critical and negative (mean monkey mind), to connect with their personal & spiritual core and learn to let its more holistic and intuitive wisdom guide their lives.

Basically, to become Self-led.

Heart-Based Values

How would this show up in your coaching & training?

First, by clarifying and prioritizing your personal values – which represent who you are, what you believe in, what you stand for, and what you feel is most important in your life.

Values clarification isn’t a swift, simple or straightforward process but a personally engaging and challenging one involving various coaching exercises and tools to help you truly connect to the core of your being and make very important decisions about how you intend to live, who you want to be, what work you want to do, and a lot more.

With your values clarified and prioritized, you can now guide your life and make decisions with more confidence, certainty, trust and ease.

You can use your heart-based values to create an inspiring and motivating vision of the future you wish to create and to guide yourself in the moment by keeping yourself in check, reflecting on a simple, binary choice: am I living from the heart – honoring my values? or the alternative – am I moving away from my values to avoid discomfort, pain, stress or simply fear?

With these two main pillars a) managing our inner world more effectively, and b) knowing how we wish to live, we can ultimately honor the words inspired by Gandhi: ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’.

For these reasons, and many more, we can see that the heart is indeed a very special gift. One that we could use more wisely and lovingly in our lives. It matters and I hope to help you embrace it more in your life.

Did this resonate with you?
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