Today I learned about heart math. There is science to back up the concept that the heart is the seat of the emotions and sends more signals to the brain than the brains sends to the body. In fact there is a machine that can measure heart variable coherence that basically indicates if you are in a postive frame of “mind” in which your heart is functioning at top performance or if you are in a state of discomfort or dis-ease and you are in a negative state that will change the chemical composition of your hormones and basically cause more agitation and reflects anxiety and stress.
I was hooked up to a machine and was in a state of anxiety at the beginning and once the teacher asked about my family and I started talking about my kids, I felt it and saw it on the machine, I was pumping better energy. I could feel it and see it.
The point is to learn to control the coherence through breathing as a first step. It’s as simple as breathe in for five seconds and then breathe out for five seconds. Do this for a minute and calm your state. Then as you progress you can begin to “choose your thoughts.” Remembering times of success, bliss, joy, achievement. The birth of a child, the birth of a grandchild, significant accomplishments professionally. Better to fill you head with good thoughts than bad thoughts. Who wants to relive travail, turmoil and pain over and over again, yet that is what we often do. “If I told you one time, I’ve told you a thousand times….”
Something significant in actualclinical studies: It takes 3 good thoughts to negate one bad thought. The disemblance of coherence is impacted greatly by constantly reviewing what’s bad in the world, which is why we really shouldn’t watch the news as they tailor their stories to exacerbate the negative and drive up the pulse and along with it, blood pressure, arrythmias etc. It’s no wonder heart disease is the Number One killer in America.
So here is a picture of coherence: This was sent to me by Christina my youngest daughter yesterday. It was her first day of her internship at Johns Hopkins. It’s a summer program and she is headed for a career in science and/or math, etc and she will be a high school senior in the fall. The caption of the picture: I was just in surgery.
She’s fascinated by the medical field. When I picked her up she excitedly told me about her day how boring it was in the morning folding pamphlets, etc. and when the team was preparing for surgery of a woman who couldn’t breathe, she boldly asked if she could observed. She was told to ask the surgeon. She said, “I am a high school science student and I am used to seeing blood, can I observe the surgery.” The doctor as most people do had to say yes to her.
She was hugging patients all day and spreading her cheeriness. Heart math…
At the end of the day, I was having some headache problem. Christina offered to give me a head and neck massage and she is really good at it. I fell asleep on the floor watching the Orioles. No headache today.
Today Christina reverts to selling sandwiches at the swimming pool to earn some cash. She works 4 days at Hopkins unpaid volunteer of course, 2 days at the pool and has one day off to look at colleges.
Journalling 3 items of gratitude.
In the Science of Happiness seminar I attended put on by the Do Good Often Enterprises people, many actionable items were shared. I already talked about breathing for calmness and using it as a reset especially if a frustrating situation rears its ugly head, but another tip worth passing on was Journalling. I have journalled in the past but not very consistently. This exercise is to help a person move the happiness set point in your life.
The simple thing to do is to WRITE DOWN three things you are grateful for that day or from the day before. Do this for 21 days. Try not to repeat the items but constantly be looking for new things to be thankful for. Basically you are using this tool to train yourself to see the good things people do as we are so often able to dismiss the good and only look for the bad.
Now I am not telling the whole story of what happened yesterday. I should tell you when we left the house in the morning, I was dropping Christina off at Hopkins and then making my way downtown to the seminar.
Christina came up and wanted to get in the car with a mug full of granola with milk dripping down the sides. I said in a absolute state of dis coherence, not in my car. I was frustated for several reasons and sometimes a little thing triggers the outburst of negative emotions. Anyway we had a good argument about it and I scolded her. Told her she needs to get up earlier, have her breakfast and not to be rushing out the door with drippy food and expect me to be okay with it.
In fact her lack of discipline in this one area is far outshadowed by her intensity for her studies, her boldness in getting into see a surgery her first day at the hospital, her hard work to even get into the program, etc. So if I had only knew to breathe deeply for a moment, I could have handled the situation in a better way. Now I know. And so do you.
So my journal will reflect something like this:
1. Grateful for learning about heart math.
2. Grateful for Christina having a great first day at her internship.
3. Grateful for re-learning about breathing deeply and being conscious of my happiness set point.
Video to watch:
To get just a taste of what I learned yesterday, watch this TED video. http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work