At the latest VOV exhibition in Leuven, Vera and I helped promoting the Stress Reduction Program which is supported by a bio-feedback system.
We use this system to let people see, live on screen, how their nervous system and especially the heart are responding to a change in their internal emotional state. Afterwards we introduced some heart coherence techniques. In spite of the extensive, complex scientific research, people experienced the simplicity of the techniques and the fun of seeing live feedback on a computer-screen.
The system is developed by the Heartmath Institute (USA). They did extensive research on the role of the heart in our emotional well-being, mental clarity and overall human performance.
One of the amazing discoveries researchers did, was that the heart has its own brain. More than 60 % of heart-cells are neural, the same as brain-cells. They allow the heart to perceive, choose and steer a whole range of important physical processes. This effectively proves that what many people intuitively call the intelligence of the heart, really exists.
The Heartmath researchers found that more neural information goes from the heart to the brain than the other way around. The heart has a magnetic field that is 5000 times stronger than the field of the brain. The heart is significantly influencing the brain in most of its decisions.
How is this important in stress-reduction?
Well, it seems that the heart has its own language. We call it the Heart-Rate-Variability (HRV). In short, it points at the space between the heartbeats: more variation means greater adaptability of the heart to different circumstances,like stress.
Researchers discovered that our HRV is influenced by our emotions. When we feel negative emotions like anger or frustration, it reduces the variability significantly and a message is sent to the brain that something is wrong. The brain then turns on the survival response in our nervous system. This in turn switches on the hormone system which produces stress-hormones like cortisol that suppresses our immune system and our ability to think clearly. Positive emotions like happiness and gratefulness lead to a balanced body and an optimal mental functioning. This optimal state is called ‘coherence’.
In the Stress Reduction Program people learn to recognize stress and become aware of emotions and their meaning. We teach them a few simple techniques to counter the stress response by obtaining heart coherence.
At the exhibition we had the opportunity to introduce some training managers to the power of the heart coherence technique. In spite of the extensive, complex scientific research, they experienced the simplicity of the techniques and the fun of seeing live feedback on a computer-screen.
All of the participants unanimously agreed that the Stress Reduction Program is a very effective way to reduce stress significantly and they recognized the power to optimize performance and output.
In following blogs I will take you further into this fascinating subject and hope to inspire you to bring more heart into your organization and your life.
Interested? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org