Do you eagerly pursue to be positive? How many times in the intent of maintaining a positive frame you end up disappointed and stressed? With the culture of positive psychology, comes too, another trend to pursue and try to maintain a positive mindset all day, at all times, an almost impossible mission, something that maybe just the Tibet Monks have achieved, and even them rarely, should experience some kind of conflict, though they have the resources to self-regulate and move on!.
And that is the key message of this whole new paradigm of being in flow, cool, with a positive mindset. However, it should more about how much of your time you prefer, chose, and maintain a negative outcome, rather than struggle to maintain the positive smile all the time without being authentic and realistic.
Being congruent in your actions is nowadays more important than showing off all the amount of tricks under your hat. This congruency depends largely on your self-awareness of how you perceive, interpret and respond to the environment in addition of how you behave in your everyday life and under real circumstances.
Many of us nowadays trust a lot more on specialists that show a more congruent behavior and appearance to what they teach and instruct. I dare to say that many of you would doubt about their psychologists if you have found himself, that he abuses emotionally of his partner or he has addiction problems that are not under control.
All that social congruency that we’re now demanding from professionals and specialists, is the same that we should thrive for in our lives. Additionally, we should look for a more self-regulating action mode during our daily lives, this concept was already introduced in the last article (1), it is named Coherence.
In physical science, Coherence includes: global coherence where the emergent whole is more than and qualitatively different from the sum of its parts: auto-coherence as a uniform pattern of cyclical behaviour, as in the sine wave; and cross-coherence as, for example, when oscillatory systems in the body, such as respiration and heart rhythms become entrained and oscillate or resonate at the same frequency. Such conceptual distinctions initially emerged from early HeartMath research indicating that the heart’s rhythm co-varied, not only with respiration, blood pressure and physical exercise, but also, independently, with positive emotions, which tended to naturally induce a rhythmic Heart Rate Variability (HRV) sine wave pattern (2).
From a cardiovascular perspective, it is characterized by a heart rhythm pattern of elevated amplitude in low frequency heart rate variability of around 0 .1 Hz, indicating harmony between sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system . From a respiratory perspective, it relates to an optimal respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) of about 5–7 breaths per minute . From an immune and hormonal system perspective, it is associated with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), recognized as an energy renewing growth hormone that balances the energy depleting stress hormone of cortisol. From a neurophysiological perspective, it synchronizes with the alpha bandwidth on the electroencephalograph . As distinct from relaxation it is experienced as a state of relaxed alertness, which sports persons describe as “being in the zone” (2).
Discussing what has been researched and proved by the HeartMath Institute, we can now see the evidence that probably ancient cultures without knowing or measuring were experiencing, through ancient techniques such as meditation, self-reflection, journaling, interacting with nature or any other practice that would allow them to feel more in contact with their internal peace (coherence) and experiencing the amazing physiological and emotional results that now everyone of us aspire for.
However as “simple” human beings which live stressful situations most of the time due to our own inability to find more balance in our lives…
How can we increase this kind of healing energy? What practical steps can we all do in our lives to start at least reducing the amount of triggering situations and expectations?
A suggested approach to cope with these different issues that we all be able to experience of course begins with the amount of patience and discipline you want to invest in these kind of approach:
Let’s use a simple every day analogy.. A single Mom or just a Mom, that has to work, pick up two kids from the school, arrive to her house to prepare the meal, allow time to interact with her children, and finish pending work from her office…
In a normal day, let’s say she had a discussion with her boss due to the fact that he likes to control people much more than she does, he perceives that she has a soft hand when making people comply with the “established rules”, however she has done a very good job managing her staff and they see her as a leader that predicates with the example of results, not with the example of compliance with “standard rules”, she demands more results of her people, they deliver and she is very reasonable with their lives, schedules, emotions and engagement as team players.
So, after she returned from work disappointed and kind of triggered by the absurd demands of her boss, she founds out at the school that her oldest son had a fight with another child, the youngest when she pick him up had a little fever and to put the cherry on the cake …the house was a mess, because during the weekend she had to finish work for the meeting that was a total disappointment.
Based on that scenario, knowing that children perceive our emotions and setting the stage for a possible emotional mess for everyone, what can she do before she starts showing her frustration towards the oldest son for that behavior, getting paranoid, anxious and very stressed for the fever of the youngest?
It is a fact that we all have a previous window of feeling that we’re already building up stress, frustration, emotional imbalance and probably anger …so the first recommendation would be:
Arrive to her place, put her children in a safe place and doing some activity, oldest (6 years old) supervising the younger (1 year old), meaning trying to control external triggers for a short span of time;
Go to the bathroom, breath, cry with a pillow if that releases tension, stay there for at least 5 minutes closing her eyes and letting the emotions go, flow, being recognized and remind herself that they have passed and will be out of the system soon;
Prepare the meal of her children, and during the meal talk with the oldest trying to find out why he reacted like that, questioning how was the day, if something major happened and not attacking or blaming;
Have a meal with a low quantity of sugar or processed food, ideally, to stop adding one more component to the emotional chemical mix that she is already experiencing and probably children too;
Talk with the oldest boy about the feelings, the hard day she had without of course any details, just stating that it was a tough, stressful day and trying to empathize with the experience he lived by hitting the other boy, the emotions and frustration that he let go by doing that and of course trying to understand why he exploded;
Each of these steps, is focused to allow a more controlled inner environment while she releases her emotions, she starts creating more coherence in her heart by recognizing them, by letting them out of her system and include a breathing, or meditative practice that also creates more inner peace, oxygenation and balance of her aroused emotional state.
We all have experienced days where apparently everything looks like a possible threat, however, this is just due to our past memories or maybe not even ours, sometimes is even the media, your parents, social circle that have implanted images of threatening scenarios, when in fact, it will only be a trigger if you decide it is, the only thing that will start to reduce and diminish those “triggers” will be your ability to stop, breathe, recognize, question and set a path of motion to your actions that you want to implement to solve the issues and stop them from growing.
Taking into account that the coherence of our heart is the director of the neurological, physiological, biochemical and immune responses we should start cultivating more this type of coherence and we will only achieve that, in my own point of view, by allowing ourselves to divide the daily issues that we might face into categories and blocks of time to tackle them one by one.
If we set apart time for each of the possible threats that we might be experiencing, starting of course with the most “dangerous/immediate” we will surely find peace just by drafting our coherence plan.
Rigorous scientific evidence based research has subsequently indicated that psychophysiological coherence has vast emotional, social, mental, spiritual, ecological and performance benefits. For instance, the general systemic, holographic theory of McCraty et al . (2009) postulates that, of all the bodily organs, the heart, with its independent, intricate nervous system, generates the most powerful, comprehensive, rhythmic electromagnetic field, whose information patterns network with various environmental energy fields (2).
Derived from the Latin term movere [to move], the word “emotion” literally means “energy in motion”. In phenomenological terms, what we think of as emotion is the experience of energy moving through our bodies that generates ANS related physiological and mental reactions, as experienced in such strong feelings as love, joy, sorrow or anger . Feelings generally refer to a vast array of more subtle conscious experiences and sensations . In itself, emotional energy is neutral. Physiological reactions, feelings and thoughts give emotion meaning. Scientific research has repeatedly confirmed that reactive emotional energy manifests in brain activity before thought . In simple terms, humans inhabit a fundamentally pathic or feeling world, and tend to evaluate everything emotionally, perceive first and think later (2).
Intentional slowing and deepening of breathing optimizes natural respiratory sinus arrhythmia, whereby inhalation and exhalation are associated with heart rate increases and decreases respectively . This conscious step slows the system down and facilitates the identification and focus on a particular positive emotion. As we have conscious control over breathing and can easily slow the rate and increase the depth of the breathing mechanism, we can take advantage of this physiological mechanism to modulate efferent vagal traffic and thus the heart rhythm . This, in turn, increases vagal afferent nerve traffic and increases the coherence (stability) in the pattern of vagal afferent nerve traffic which influences the neural systems involved in regulating sympathetic outflow, informing emotional experience and synchronizing neural structures underlying cognitive processes (2).
Supported by heart research, we all can accomplish a coherent life, a coherent energy, we are not at expense of the environment or past memories to be able to implement our action plan towards coherence. And I name it like that because as stated above, you need action to move the emotions, you need to act in order to release what is inside, you need to think and strategize a plan to allow your life to be a more smooth set of activities, instead of being a chaos, where literally unexpected things will happen, you will be unprepared and in turn you will react, setting up yourself for a decadent cycle of toxic emotions and living your life as a survival test instead of living your life with excitement for what can happen, living because you know you’re prepared for whatever it may come, living with a student attitude of learning and adapting, living with the childish sense of savoring the present moment and releasing negative or frustrating things quickly.
We all have the tools, we all know what to do with our lives, the main issue with many people is that they want to be dependent on something external and release all their power, but it has never been because you lack the ability, it is just because you decide to believe the chains that others wanted you to believe, and then they try to sell you the key!.
We are facing a new era, a new course of motion where you are now the director of your orchestra and now you have the information, the knowledge, you just need to acquire your wisdom to handle your life in the best coherent scenario that you will chose, that you will design and implement it from today and for the rest of your life.
My advice is you’re not being rushed by anyone or anything, you have the time, make yourself available for your inner knowledge, maintain an open mind, invest in yourself, don’t try to negotiate a lower price for the knowledge and abilities you know they are going to be handy and available for you, don't see any preventive test or check up as an unnecessary expense, and most of all make a strong commitment with you.. Believe you can do it and as the famous motto of a shoe brand says …Just Do It !!
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Ortega D. “How Can You Synchronize your Heart and Brain?”. https://www.gen-es.mx/bloggenesmx. August 16th, 2019.
Edwards, S. D. (2015). HeartMath: A positive psychology paradigm for promoting psychophysiological and global coherence. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 25(4), 367-374.
McCraty, R., Atkinson, M., Tomasino, D., & Bradley, R. T. (2009). The Coherent Heart Heart-Brain Interactions, Psychophysiological Coherence, and the Emergence of System-Wide Order. Integral Review: A Transdisciplinary & Transcultural Journal for New Thought, Research, & Praxis, 5(2).