Betty W. Phillips, Ph.D., Psychology
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Follow Your Heart

                                

 

                                               FOLLOW YOUR HEART!

 

Follow your heart...to well-being, stress reduction, a positive lifestyle… to peace, compassion, love, joy.  I’m not describing a pipe dream. I’m describing a reality which we can all aspire to and reach within the constraints of our life on earth.  Our society emphasizes the brain, extremely important but actually not even functional by itself without connection to and coordination with our very important emotional center, our heart.  If you don’t have time to read this article today, cut it out from the paper or bookmark it on this website .  When you get a chance to understand and work with your heart center, your whole life will change!

 

Poets and philosophers recognize the importance of the heart, but until recently science has deemphasized information about this very important part of our body system. Recent research findings describe the startling fact that people often make decisions and start actions before their brain is engaged in activating the impulses. What, you say? How can we make decisions and do things before our brain tells us what to do?    The answer is that we are actually much more complicated than just the small body area called the brain. You probably even know, intuitively, the importance of the heart. The brain thinks, but does not feel, and emotions are major influences in our daily lives.

 

Over time in my research and experience I have come to understand and appreciate the power and potency of the heart. I have personal experiences of the happiness and joy one can feel when accessing the emotional heart. It’s not just an organ that pumps blood, but a vital warm throbbing and powerful communication center.  And here are some facts.  The science of neurocardiology now discusses the “heart brain”, a highly complex information processing center which has more connections from the heart to the brain than vice versa. The heart’s electrical field is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the electrical activity generated by the brain. The magnetic field produced by the heart is more than 5000 times greater in strength than the field generated by the brain.  Research has demonstrated cardio electromagnetic communication between individuals, that one person’s heart signal can affect another person’s brain waves with the result being heart-brain synchronization between interacting people. 

 

Important information in this field can be accessed at www.HeartMath.org, a scientifically-based group which has been studying the heart for more than 20 years.  Please access their seven minute video, “The Hearts Intuitive Intelligence” featured on the first page of their website.  I love the way the video shows positive waves emanating from the hearts of individuals and groups. The research section, Science of the Heart, describes in great detail the functions and power of the intuitive or energetic heart as well as their impressive research showing how heart-based coherence can improve our lives and our health.  The opposite, chronic unmanaged emotional stress, is as much as six times more predictive of cancer and heart disease than cigarette smoke, cholesterol levels or blood pressure problems!

 

While HeartMath tools and books can be very helpful to you in achieving heart coherence, I recommend starting your own heart-based living with a basic approach.  Begin by spending some time to conjure up and re-experience positive and peak experiences from your life: through music, through beautiful natural scenes, loving experiences, through whatever memories have moved you to intense feelings of happiness.  Feel the uplift in your heart, soaring feelings, maybe tears of joy, then afterward make note of these peak experiences so that you can remember and experience them on a regular basis. I recommend you start by closing your eyes, placing your hands on your heart and breathing into your heart, feeling the warm glow growing and spreading throughout your chest area and into the space around you.  Your goal will be to be able to access positive heart feelings every day, to call them up as needed to deal with stress or life problems.  Once you master this basic experience you can, if you want, spend more time with HeartMath techniques. You will find a list of techniques such as the Appreciation Tool in the free services section of their website. You can also access the many articles and books generated by this Institute. 

 

I find it interesting to contrast the power of the positive heart with the inadequacy of many life practices we use to seek happiness.  Pleasures are fleeting and sometimes even cause depression when we find ourselves back in a darker or stressful life space after the pleasure quickly diminishes.

 

The heart has been revered throughout the ages. Shakespeare advised us to “Go to your bosom; knock there and ask your heart what it doth know.”  Robert Valett said that “The human heart feels things the eyes cannot see, and knows what the mind cannot understand.” Pascal tells us, “The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.” Confucius tells us, “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” From the King James version of the Bible, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

 

And I send love to all from my heart!  You, too, can live with a positive, overflowing heart. Start now!