Mind and Heart: The Power Couple

Mind and Heart: The Power Couple

Posted by Tula Stone on Nov 17th 2022

The mind and heart should be friends. Good ones. Mine have not always been as connected as I would like. But the turmoil within and around me over the past few years has compelled me to strengthen my mind and heart alliance.

Something I’ve discovered over this time of soul-searching is heart math. If you haven’t heard of The Heart Math Institute and are interested in living a heart-centered life, I recommend looking into it. The Heart Math Institute defines heart math as tapping into the “power and intelligence of your heart—your heart’s intuition, which awakens you to the best version of yourself.”

We all want to be as acquainted as possible with our best selves. I can attest that tuning in to the heart’s wisdom through heart math is an effective way to start sinking into the most pleasant elements of who you are. But you don’t have to take my word for it. They’ve done lots of research on how the mind and heart interact and offer some excellent tools (many of them free) for synergizing the two. There are numerous benefits to living a heart-centered life, and I want to share how heart math can help you do that.

First, I’ll highlight some fantastic things the institute has discovered about the interactions between the mind and heart you may be surprised to learn.

Does The Heart Have a Mind of its Own?

The heart has a brain. It’s a branch of medical science called neurocardiology that has confirmed the presence of a complex neural network in the heart. How freaking amazing is that!

If you know me, you know I’m a science nerd, so I love digging into this stuff.

Have you ever heard that there’s an ass kicker and a boot licker in every relationship? Guess who’s who in the relationship between the brain and the heart. The answer is not what you might assume. While communication goes both ways, the heart sends more information to the brain than the other way around. The heart is the one calling the shots!

The Heart Makes Waves

The heart also produces electricity. It’s what is measured with an EKG (electrocardiogram). The brain has electricity too, and that’s measured by an EEG (electroencephalogram). But guess what! The heart produces more electricity than the brain by a factor of 60. Yeah! The heart has an electrical current 60 TIMES more powerful than the brain. But that’s not the most astounding part of the matter. It also produces a magnetic field that is 5,000 TIMES stronger than the magnetic field produced by the brain.

Your heart beams information about your emotional state into your environment and receives information about the emotions of others. All this is so fascinating! It tells us there is a scientifically measurable physiological component to the woo-woo world of the human energy field.

The electromagnetic signal your heart produces can be measured up to three feet from your body, and get this— It can change the brain waves of people around you! If you’ve ever felt the discomfort of being in the presence of an angry person or the warm fuzzies you get when you look into the eyes of someone you love, you’ve experienced the power of the heart’s electromagnetic field. It’s an invitation to keep our hearts in the right place.

Heart Brain Coherence

Heart-brain coherence (or heart coherence, as it’s called in heart math jargon) is the scientific term for having your heart in the right place. Coherence occurs when the heart’s rhythm synchronizes with breathing, hormone regulation, blood pressure, and your mental-emotional state. It’s the cooperative alignment between the heart, mind, and emotions.

The scientific measure of heart coherence is a normal heart rate variability (HRV) pattern on an EKG. But you don’t have to do an EKG to know if you’re experiencing heart coherence. You just have to feel good. When you’re in the flow, feeling like you are at one with the activity you are engaged in, when you appreciate or feel grateful, when you love, when you feel a sense of purpose and belonging— these are the times when you are in a state of heart coherence.

Make Your Own Waves

The best part about all this is that we can put ourselves into a state of coherence. Sometimes it just happens, and hopefully, that’s the case for you. But if you feel sad, frustrated, anxious, or overwhelmed, knowing how to harmonize your body and mind into a state of calmness, mental clarity, and emotional balance is helpful.

Understanding the practical application of heart coherence is like manna from the heavens when you want to get out of a negative state and start feeling more positive. People report a lasting feeling of calm centeredness after just a few minutes of heart coherence.

I am learning more and more that I am response-able for my state of being. The past few years have been painful and challenging, so I am grateful to have found some solutions.

Practical Ways to Synchronize the Mind and Heart

Now that you know a little about the benefits, here are some practices you can try to increase your heart coherence intentionally. Keep in mind that these exercises will become easier and put you in a state of heart coherence more and more quickly as you practice them over time. Ideally, you will practice these techniques for a few minutes several times a day. The rewards are so worth the small amount of time:

  • Focus your attention on the center of your chest. Take long, slow breaths, and imagine the breath flowing in and out through your heart. While you continue to do this, think of something or someone that gives you a feeling of gratitude or appreciation. This can be a person, a pet, a special memory, a connection to nature, or anything else that generates feelings of love, compassion, appreciation, and other positive emotions. The beauty of this exercise is that it can be done with your eyes open while you are in a challenging situation. You can also practice it before going into a meeting or phone conversation to put yourself in a state of coherence.
  • If you are feeling a negative emotion, such as stress, anger, or sadness, take a moment to acknowledge what you’re feeling. As with the exercise above, start taking deep breaths and imagine the breath going in and out through your heart. While you do this, imagine the emotion you would rather be feeling. Some examples are peace, love, acceptance, and joy. If you can’t imagine another emotion, allow your heart to provide one. The important thing is to FEEL the emotion anyway, so you don't even have to give it a name. When you have a new, more uplifting, rejuvenating emotion, imagine breathing it in through your heart and spreading it to all the cells of your body.
  • This can be used if you need clarification about how to proceed in a particular situation. Write a sentence or two about the situation, and then write how you have been mentally or emotionally feeling about it. Proceed with heart-centered breathing (as with the previous two exercises), and sincerely attempt to generate a positive feeling, such as compassion, gratitude, love, or joy. When you have successfully generated a positive emotion, ask your heart for a more practical attitude, action, or solution to the problem. Listen (or feel) for the answer your heart provides. Write down what you feel your heart is suggesting. Read through what you have written and determine whether your heart has provided an emotionally intelligent solution. If it has, go ahead and act on your heart’s advice.

As I have been writing these exercises, I have done each one myself, and I have to say there is a big difference between how I am feeling now and how I felt when I started. I feel more calm, centered, happy, grateful, and balanced.

If you want to learn more about how to live from a state of heart coherence, go to the Heart Math Institute’s website and dive in. They have loads of information, studies, techniques, and stories about how and why heart coherence can improve your life.