Stress is one of the most uncomfortable conditions with which our bodies have to deal.
As stress increases, our ability to think creatively and find productive solutions decreases.
My most common reaction to stress is worry – a habit I’ve favoured because of the energy it produces along with a sense that I’m ‘doing’ something about the situation, when, in fact, I’m just compounding it.
So how can we move from worry and stress to tranquility, and from a problem to a solution with greater ease and elegance? It appears you may not have to look any further than your human heart and a process called “coherency.”
Coherency is the regulation of one’s heart rate to beat at even intervals. When this state is reached, researchers who study this process have noticed a correlating increased in a person’s ability to access creative solutions.
Do you recall a time when stress-inducing thoughts in your head just seemed to chase each other around and around, never resolving and never getting you closer to a solution or answer? And finally, somehow, settling into a place of acceptance and even appreciation (for the person or situation). You felt empathy wash over you, followed by a willingness to let go and trust that all would be well. And suddenly, there was the revelation of a solution or way forward that felt right and good?
It is strongly believed our heart has the ability to tap into a frequency of knowledge beyond our brain intelligence – the quantum Universal Mind. While mind knows how to compute, our heart blows past this rudimentary system to extract solutions from an intelligence that is not only brilliant, but profoundly peaceful and caring. Some have coined the result of this, “heart wisdom”.
It is said that our brains “think”, but our heart “knows”. The brain provides intelligence, the heart provides wisdom.
A research centre in the USA called “HeartMath” has spent decades studying how people respond to stressful situations and researching techniques to lower anxiety. Numerous highly credentialed scientists have endorsed HeartMath for the work they do.*
Heartmath’s research has developed techniques to increase coherency between the mind and the heart. Their findings support the idea that those who practice coherency techniques feel less stressed and are able to access more creative solutions to their problems.
Heartmath offers several easy one minute processes. This is one that I practice with some regularity. (I’ve added in my own observations and actions that seem to assist me to find a release from the stress of the moment quicker.)
- Move your attention to the region of your heart. If you want, it might help to actually place your hand or fingers on your breastbone in the area of your heart. This simple action shifts our focus from our mind to our heart. Feel the touch. (When I do this, I almost instantly feel a slight release of anxiety. Stress tends, for me, to manifest as a knot in my solar plexus. When I feel this discomfort I know I’ve moved into a place of anxiety or worry.)
- Breathe slower and easily. Close your eyes if you want, it’s not necessary though. You may want to inhale or exhale in a rhythm, but being comfortable is the key. Feel your breath.
- Think about someone or something for which you can feel appreciation, gratitude, compassion or care. (Find something that doesn’t evoke mixed emotions. Get as deep into the feeling as you can. Immerse yourself. Stay there for about 1-3 minutes basking in that emotion. If your mind wanders, just bring your attention back to the recreation of that feeling of appreciation, gratitude, compassion or care and bask again in that emotion.)
Over time and with continual practice, the research of HeartMath indicates you can substantially lower your anxiety and stress, and increase your compassion and creativity.
If you want to find out more, you can look HeartMath up online at www.heartmath.com. They offer a number of books and even some apps and gadgets to help guide you to a greater coherency between your heart and your mind.
*Some scientists whose talks you may want to watch on Youtube are Gregg Braden, Dr. Joe Dispenza and Frank Lipton. They often refer to research conducted by HeartMath.
Barbara Risto is the publisher of INSPIRED Senior Living, a magazine geared for the 55+ demographic; the Canadian best-selling author of “To Move Or Not to Move?” a helpful guide for seniors considering their residential options; the producer of two annual 55+ Lifestyle Shows; and a champion of the 55+ lifestyle, which she is now embracing.
For more information, check out “Who Is Barbara Risto”