Every day, your heart beats an average of 100,000 times and pumps about 7500 liters of blood.
This is pretty incredible for an organ the size of your fist. But your heart’s magic does not stop there; your heart does much more than simply pump your blood.
How much more?
You’ll be amazed.
The Heart’s Own Nervous System
Scientists have recently discovered that the heart possesses its own intrinsic nervous system, containing over 40,000 neurons. The heart has the ability to independently sense, process information, make decisions and even demonstrate its own learning and memory.
The heart is also a hormonal gland, which manufactures and secretes various hormones and neurotransmitters that profoundly affect brain and body function. Among the hormones the heart produces is oxytocin—well known as the “love” or “bonding hormone”. And we all know how good love can make us feel.
The heart actually sends more information to the brain and to the nervous system than the other way around.
The quality of signals sent from the heart to the brain have profound effects on our brain function, mental clarity, emotional experience and physical health.
High quality, harmonious signals sent from the heart to the brain bring us into a state of heart coherence.
What Is Heart Coherence?
We are in a state of heart coherence when we feel positive emotions of love, gratitude, appreciation, joy, laughter and awe.
In contrast – we are in a state of disharmony or “non-coherence,” when we experience negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, tension, anger, frustration and sadness.
During stressful and negative emotions, the heart’s rhythm pattern becomes erratic, thereby the pattern of neural signals travelling from the heart to the brain are chaotic – this impairs cognitive function, and can make us feel exhausted and stressed.
In contrast, positive emotional states – like love, joy, gratitude, awe – create an ordered and stable pattern of the heart’s input to the brain. This not only benefits the entire body, but profoundly affects the way we think, feel, perceive and perform. It boosts our vitality and makes us feel alive and joyous!
Heart Coherence as an Antidote to Stress
According to Rollin McCarthy Ph.D, Director of Research at the HeartMath Institute:
“One of the most effective ways to reduce stress, anxiety and feelings of overwhelm, is to learn to access the intelligence of the heart and shift the rhythms of the heart, which sends a different message to the brain.”
The heart not only responds to the brain, but the brain continuously responds to the heart. If we can learn to shift the rhythms of the heart into a state of coherence – this can quickly improve brain function, mood and mental well-being.
In this state of harmony between heart and brain, we access deeper intuition and inner guidance. We can get clarity on things that seem complex otherwise; we are better at making decisions and feel more at ease overall.
Additionally, with lower stress levels, our immune system strengthens, pain and inflammation decrease, energy boosts, and overall well-being enhances.
Now the question is, what sort of signals is your heart sending to your brain? Ones of coherence or ones of disharmony?
And how does one practice heart coherence?
How To Practice Heart Coherence
You can choose to practice heart coherence anytime you feel stressed or anxious, or as part of a daily practice.
- Find a place where you can be quiet and still. Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath.
- Place your hand on your heart and tune into your heart-space. Take some slow deep breaths while continuing to focus on your heart.
- Begin to activate elevated emotions. This can be done by thinking about the things you love and appreciate in your life. Perhaps think of a partner, friend, family member, mentor, pet, spiritual figure – anyone whom you deeply appreciate. Think of all the reasons why you are grateful for them. Think of how much joy and fulfillment they bring into your life. Really tap into those feelings of love and expand on them while focusing on your heart.
- After about 5 minutes you will begin to notice yourself feeling more calm, centered, harmonized and balanced. Stay here as long as you like and marinate in the good feelings of love!
Envol Can Help
Envol offers you many tools to access a state of heart coherence. Try the 'Heart Centered' and 'Dreams come true' meditations, or listen to visualization music tracks like Destiny, Do the Impossible and Believe while doing the exercise outlined above.
In just 5 minutes a day, we can harness the power of our hearts to improve our physical, mental and emotional health. Tap into love, tap into health.
Written by Alex Marynczak from Envol team
1.”Heart Basics.” Hoag. 22 April, 2021.
https://www.hoag.org/specialties-services/heart-vascular/conditions/heart-basics/#:~:text=Each day the average heart,more than 2.5 billion times.
- “The Science of HeartMath.” HeartMath. 22 March, 2021. https://www.heartmath.com/science/