In our last post, we discussed the power of positive thinking as a buffer against stress. As with any skill, positive thinking grows stronger and swifter with practice, especially if you tend to fall into negativity. It’s easy to get sucked into the downward spiral; but on the flip side, it’s just as easy to hold fast to the “upward spiral” generated by positive thinking. And of course, there’s an app for that, newly released from Heartmath.org.
The HeartMath Institute began 35 years ago as an inquiry into post-operative heart surgery patients. But along the way, researchers bumped into a key component of the heart and how it plays into our emotion – particularly how it helps us become good parents and good partners, focused athletes, and high-achieving students unfazed by anxiety. They theorized that heart intelligence is the source of emotional intelligence and logical thinking (the head and the heart don’t clash as much as love songs would suggest). When cultivated, it can help us bridge the gap between heart and mind as well as building connections to the hearts of others.
Like the gut, the heart has a direct line to the brain: the common carotid artery with blood sprinting from heart to brain at a rate of three feet per second (New York Times “Modern Love”, June 5, 2016). Heart signals target the brain centers involved in decision-making, creativity, and emotional experience.
Research from HeartMath found that negative emotions threw the nervous system out of balance, creating disordered and jagged rhythms on the study’s heart monitor and clouding thinking to the point of irrationality and confusion. By contrast, positive emotions were found to restore order and balance in the nervous system to produce smooth heart rhythms that not only reduced stress but also enhanced people’s ability to perceive the world around them and connect with others. Positive thinking hones creativity, affords clarity, and boosts concentration. The coherence of synchronized systems — brain, heart, and nervous systems — can yield reduced blood pressure, less severe asthma, enhanced well-being, increased emotional stability, and better cognitive performance. It can reduce anxiety and “helplessness” in favor of logical thinking underpinning plans of action. In short, it can help us feel completely at peace…with strength.
One particular strain of positive thinking – gratitude – is strongly linked to better coping with stress and stronger mental health. When you’re with others, say “thank you” anytime someone shows a courtesy or shares a compliment. When you’re alone, try this: place your hand on your heart, visualize your breath weaving through your heart with each beat, and think of a person or place that brings you joy. You can use this practice before you fall asleep, when you wake up in the middle of the night, when preparing for an important communication (from a meeting to a mingle), and to recoup or recover from a stressful situation.
On a personal note, we’d like to extend our gratitude for our patients who entrust us with their health and happiness. Your satisfaction is our greatest joy.
Natural Health Chiropractic & Acupuncture serves the residents of Rochester, New York and the surrounding areas. Our location in Gates is conveniently located just off I-390 with easy access and plentiful parking. Easy to get to from Greece, Spencerport, Chili, and Henrietta.Leave a reply →