The Wisdom of the Heart
The heart is both a physical organ and an intuitive feeling center. ‘Science has confirmed the heart contains its own independent nervous system comprised of more than 40,000 neurons.”1 Consider what goes on emotionally and physically when our heart starts to race, and usually it’s associated with deep feelings either negative or positive. The heart sends signals to the brain that affect other rhythms and influence how we think, perceive and perform. The heart and brain are in constant conversation, and for those of us managing anxiety becoming aware of our heart rhythms and their influence on our nervous system is helpful in reducing the effects of stress.
Our heart rhythms are mirrored in our emotional state so managing deep emotional feelings influences our nervous system and consequently the immune system. There is a technique that will help us slow our heart-rate and assist our heart rhythms in becoming more regular, thus supporting our overall health and sense of well-being. The technique is called “Heart Coherence”.
“Heart coherence focuses on the fact that when the heart is allowed to guide the body and the mind, great things can be achieved. Heart coherence occurs when our breathing and heart rhythms operate at the same frequency. This is easily done by simply breathing slowly, deeply and rhythmically.”2 Slowing our heart rate supports a healthier nervous system and reduces anxiety. Many youths and adults’ practice different forms of meditation to exercise breathing techniques that maximize the numerous mental and physical health benefits of rhythmic breathing.
Awareness of the connection between the heart and nervous system encourages us to consider the value of breath and breathing techniques. There are endless articles that endorse breathing exercises for stimulating the relaxation response, which helps alleviate the symptoms of stress, anxiety and other mental and physical health conditions. Learning breathing techniques is easy, affordable and listed below are some resources to help regulate our resting state. The wisdom of the heart influences our daily experiences so practicing techniques will support our intuitive feelings and our overall health and well-being.
Written by: Deborah Faust (Director of Family Engagement & Support)