Heart Math: Managing our Emotions
~By Patricia Kay Youngson ~
Heart Math is a system designed to bring the heart into making decisions, promoting harmonious emotions and mental clarity, emotional intelligence, and reducing stress hormones.
The heart is noted for love, wisdom, strength and courage. We speak “from the heart”. We love “whole heartedly”. We “take heart” or “lose heart” becoming “disheartened”. Saint-Exupery says: “And here is my secret, a very simple secret, it is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Thomas Carlyle: “It is the heart that always sees, before the head can see.” Proverbs 23:7: “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.”
Anatomically, the heart has its own nervous system that affects our thinking and helps us manage our emotions. Heart intelligence is the source of emotional intellience–making the emotions more balanced, educated, and aware. The positive heart emotions such as love, care, appreciation, peace, and forgiveness lead to smooth harmonious heart rhythms and result in mental clarity, health and intuition. Whereas emotions that aren’t managed result in incivility, illness, and more rapid aging. And, When people focus their attention on their hearts and activate feelings of love and appreciation, their stress hormones (such as cortisone and adrenalin) decrease and the youth hormone (DHEA)increases.
There are several Heart Math techniques but the first one is Freeze Frame. Freeze Frame increases health and well-being and balances the sympathetic (fight/flight/freeze) and the parasympathetic (relaxation) nervous systems. It gives clarity in decision making. It is the quickest way to elicit heart intelligence by increasing communication between the heart and the mind.
The name Freeze Frame comes from the movie term for stopping a film at a single frame, giving a clearer look at what it going on.
Here are the five steps:
- Become aware of a stressful, out of balance feeling and “freeze it” while taking a time out.
- Focus away from the stressful emotion and instead focus on the heart. To do this,pretend you are breathing through your heart for ten or more seconds. This increases the balance of the nervous system, cardiac efficiency, and heart-brain communication.
- Remember a person or place that elicits a feeling of love, appreciation, joy, gratitude. This may be the most difficult step.
- Ask your heart what is the best response to the situation and one that would lower your stress. Stay focused on love.
Listen to what your heart tells you.
- If you’re having difficulty, repeat the first and second steps until you can arrive at a neutral feeling. Like with everything else, your skill in doing Freeze Frame will increase with practice.
Patricia Kay Youngson RN, MA Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University. firstname.lastname@example.org, website Patriciak.com.