Put Your HeartMath into It: Use This Set of Business Tools to Link You Head and Your Heart-So You Can Think More Clearly, Perform Better, and Be Healthier

Article excerpt

Are you stressed? Would you like to perform better at work? Could your health use a tune-up? If you answer yes to any of those questions (and who wouldn't these days?), read on. Techniques developed by the Institute of HeartMath may be just what you need; they harness the power of the heart, working in collaboration with the brain, to super-charge your work and home life.

How much have you thought about your heart lately? Unless your doctor has told you to take better care of it or it has just been broken, chances are that it's not much. But we'd like to prompt you in this National Heart Month to take a minute and thank your heart. It has done a lot for you lately.

The heart isn't lust a dumb--albeit powerful--machine controlled by the brain. In fact, the heart begins beating in a fetus before the brain is even developed. Scientists don't know exactly how that happens but think it's triggered somewhere within the heart itself. Transplants offer further evidence for that theory: A transplanted heart begins beating as soon as it's placed in the recipient's body and given a jump start although no nerves are connecting the heart to the brain.

Such is the research cited by people at the Institute of Heart-Math and its sister company, HeartMath LLC, as evidence that the heart has its own intelligence, which is just as important, if not more important, as the brain to our day-to-day functioning. two companies ate founded on that premise of heart intelligence and the ways in which the organ not only works in harmony with other bodily systems, but also helps coordinate them.

Picture this scenario: It's 6:30 p.m. You were supposed to leave work an hour ago to pick up your daughter at soccer practice. But you have a report to turn in first thing tomorrow, and the writing isn't coming easily. Your mind keeps wandering. You're wondering whether you'll have a job in the next several months. Management said there will be cutbacks. You worry whether you'll be able to handle whatever happens. You're also thinking about threats of terrorism. The more you try to focus on the report, the more frustrated you become; your stomach tightens and your head pounds.

Sound familiar? Most likely you can see yourself in at least part of that scenario. We're living in stressful times. If you feel like you're in a vise that's getting tighter and tighter, you're not alone. Many of us are having trouble focusing at work and at home, and may be experiencing stress-related health problems.

What's happening on a physical level, says the Institute of HeartMath, a not-for-profit research and education facility, is that the negative emotions you experience during times of stress (worry, fear, and so forth) create disorder in your heart rhythms. Those heart rhythms, translated into neural impulses, are the language the heart uses to talk back to the brain, according to physiologists. Chaotic rhythms send chaotic signals to the brain and impede cognitive and emotional processing. In other words, says HeartMath, when your heart signal is erratic, your mental functioning suffers.

But it doesn't have to be that way. When you're stressed, your ability to change what's happening around you may be minimal, but your ability to change your reaction is greater. According to HeartMath, you can calm your heart rhythms by changing your perception of events, thus increasing your mental clarity, creativity, and decision-making capabilities. Not only that, but your body's decreased reaction to stress will result in better immune function, hormonal balance, and cardiovascular flexibility.

There's more. By stopping your body's stress reactions, you can increase your effectiveness at work. A company full of people making such changes can expect productivity and morale to soar.

The keystone, found

The techniques that can help you achieve those amazing benefits were developed through research at the Institute of HeartMath, founded in 1991 by Doc Childre, a researcher, consultant, and lifelong learner. …