Your Brainy Heart: Where Science, Wisdom, and Mood Meet


We associate human consciousness or awareness primarily with the brain, our switch board of language and thought. What is fascinating is that the biological pump we so depend on has its own information processing network.

The heart’s nervous system can learn, remember, and make decisions on its own, without directions from our amazing grey matter.

Electromagnetically speaking, the heart’s influence is far stronger than that of the brain. Experiments have demonstrated that when feelings of appreciation and compassion are held by an individual, other body systems such as breathing and blood pressure fall into sync with the heart’s rhythm.

The Heart's Signals

It seems that the heart’s electromagnetic field broadcasts our emotional state throughout our body. Positive emotions are associated with regular, smooth rhythmic signals. Negative emotions (frustration, anger) are expressed as erratic and disorganized communications.

Researchers at the HeartMath Institute write:

“We have demonstrated that sustained positive emotions appear to give rise to a distinct mode of functioning, which we call psychophysiological coherence. During this mode, heart rhythms exhibit a sine wave-like [smooth] pattern and the heart’s electromagnetic field becomes correspondingly more organized.”

Psychophysiological coherence results in:

  1. The body’s systems functioning more cooperatively and with increased efficiency.
  2. Internal mental discourse (rumination, self-talk) decreasing along with our perception of stress. Clarity of thought, emotional balance, and intuitive awareness are enhanced.

This is good news, but there are two things to keep in mind. One is that all feelings and emotions give us information we can use. The second is that we can generate the positive rhythms of psychophysiological coherence, even when feeling negative or depressed.

Emotional Information

Emotions are information, and when our body feels the effects of emotions such as anger we are receiving valuable awareness about our self. Getting such information helps us navigate our world and make wise decisions. When we do not adjust after noticing an emotion such as anger, so it stays with us and then it becomes a problem.

Emotions can only be managed if they are accepted, acknowledged, and allowed to flow in and out. Having anger does not make us negative, but holding on to it has a negative impact on our body.

Having emotions we call negative usually indicate we feel threatened in some way:

  1. If we are being threatened, we need to know it.
  2. If there is no real threat, we need to figure that out too.
  3. Should we be depressed and feel nothing or anguished, that too is valuable information.

Generating Coherent Rhythms

We all know how to generate positivity, although when depressed it can seem a Herculean task. Still, feelings of love, appreciation, and harmonious rhythms can be nurtured even when they cannot be felt.

When you cannot feel appreciation, put yourself in beauty’s way. You know what is beautiful and what moves you. Art, music, dance, poetry, and nature can help revive us.

Feelings are an important part of the human experience, but they are not everything. If we cannot generate appreciation within us, we can allow ourselves to be influenced by what triggers the feeling.

We also know that what we eat and drink affects our biological rhyme, and that the rhythm of movement is a health tonic, especially when we do not feel like moving. Just sitting in a chair and swaying to music that you usually enjoy can help your heart and body regain its psychophysiological coherence, otherwise known as feeling good.

Source: Mindful Muscle


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