The Awesome Power of Being Heart-Centered – And What That Means
I’ll admit “heart-centered” is not a term I’ve used before. I’ve talked about many things related, but I am hearing this term more and more and wanted to offer up some insight into what being heart-centered even means.
The heart’s a muscle, right? And if you know me, working out has been a massive thing for me in my journey. I am learning more, and the heart is the strongest muscle considering it pumps iron (into the blood, that is) non-stop for our entire lives. Regrettably, I can’t say the same for my biceps as they need a break!
The Heart is More Than Just a Muscle
I found some astounding facts about the heart in my journey to uncover the mystery of heart-centered living. One very excellent source is the Heart Math Institute, an organization that’s made tons of scientific discoveries about the heart since it was founded in 1991.
The heart is not just a muscle that pumps blood. It’s an intelligent information processing unit with a complex nervous system that constantly communicates with the brain and the rest of the body. Specifically, the heart communicates directly with the parts of the brain that are responsible for clarity of thought and decision-making. And, while the brain sends information to the heart as well, it’s the heart that does most of the “talking” in that conversation. How awesome is that?
So when we say things like, “Listen to your heart” or “Speak from the heart,” underneath those sayings is really about acknowledging the heart’s intelligence. The heart holds wisdom and insight we cannot access with the brain alone.
What are some of the qualities we associate with the heart?
The biggest ones that come to mind to me are compassion, kindness, love, gratitude, and patience. These are the qualities that are accessed when we listen to or speak from our hearts.
The heart also transmits electricity. It’s called bioelectricity, and it creates a magnetic field that can be measured 3 feet from the body. Get this, the magnetic field produced by our hearts carries information about how we are feeling AND receives information from the magnetic fields of others. Our hearts can communicate with each other, LITERALLY!
What is Heart Coherence, and Why Is It Important?
I’m sure you’ve heard the word coherence before, but it may mean something a little different than you are familiar with when it comes to the heart. According to The Heart Math Institute, a simple definition for heart coherence is the cooperative alignment between the heart, mind, and emotions.
Heart coherence can be measured, and it’s indicated when the heart is beating in a regular rhythmic pattern. As it turns out, when we are feeling frustrated, angry, or otherwise “out of sorts,” our heart beats with an erratic, irregular rhythm.
A sustained rhythmic heartbeat makes us feel physically regenerated, emotionally balanced, more connected with our intuition, and even improves mental function. That means sharper memory, faster reaction times, more creative thinking, and better coordination.
The reason for all this good stuff is that states of higher coherence encourage all the body systems to work together optimally. That means digestion, breathing, immune function, hormone balance, and brain function work together for optimum efficiency. Imagine how useful all of this is when shitstorms come. Our heart is powerful (way more than we’ve been told in our lives, especially in schools).
Now the question is, “Is it possible to induce a state of higher coherence?” The answer is HELL YES! Anytime you feel those qualities I mentioned a few paragraphs ago (love, compassion, patience, etc.), you bring yourself into a state of higher coherence.
When I first started looking into this heart-centered phenomenon, I assumed it was some new-fangled way of meditating. And I guess it could, in some ways, be just that. The difference is that it’s focused on the heart (and specifically, bringing the heart into a state of coherence), whereas meditation is generally focused on the mind.
According to Ed Rubenstein, Ph.D., and Director of Education at the Heart-Based Institute, “It is important to realize that holding onto a need to be in control with a dominant mind as the CEO is not a path that leads to our ultimate happiness.”
We have built an entire global society on the operations of the mind. Many dysfunctions that we see in our outer world and experience in our inner world result from our leaving the heart out of the equation.
As it turns out, when we operate from our heart center, we tap into the wisdom and emotions that have always been associated with the heart, like love, kindness, patience, compassion, and gratitude. We choose to step out of the sometimes overwhelming mind spin and into the superior regulatory agency of the heart. In essence, we override the chaos of the mind with the heart’s intelligence.
Practical Ways to Get Into a State of Higher Coherence
By simply making a conscious effort to feel the emotions associated with higher coherence, like love, compassion, kindness, patience, gratitude, and appreciation, we can bring ourselves into a state of higher coherence. It seems a little more straightforward than some of the meditation protocols I’ve tried.
If you’re interested in learning more about how amazing the heart is and more super cool scientific data, check out the two main resources I used for this article: The Heart Math Institute and The Heart-Based Institute. Both these organizations have discovered numerous ways in which heart-centered practice can positively impact burnout, stress, and mental and emotional exhaustion.
There are also many free tools and resources to help people cleanse themselves of the toxic emotions that sometimes accumulate when we are dwelling too much in the mind and not enough in the heart.
I was someone who had no idea what the term “heart-centered” meant, so I decided to do some research, not only for my education but so I could pass what I learned on to you. The heart is much more than just a pump, it’s another brain in the middle of our chest, and it is responsible for helping us achieve pretty much all the things we strive for when it comes to health and wellness.
Luckily for us interested in being the best versions of ourselves, The Heart-Math Institute and The Heart-Based Institute have facts that we need to know so that we can all tap into the power of the heart.
Are you as surprised as I was to find out how instrumental the heart is in our mental and emotional (not just our physical) well-being?
Will you be practicing the art of heart-centered living, and if so, what are some ways you plan to incorporate it into your life?
Find out my journey into meditation and mindfulness in my book. You can click here to get yourself a copy!