HOW Does Your Heart and Brain Work Together?

By David Sauro

Do you know the relationship between your heart and brain sets the tone for how we experience life?

There is an incredible relationship that exists between the heart and the brain that plays an important role in our health and happiness. HeartMath Institute Research Center, located in Boulder Creek, CA., has been doing research on this connection for over 30 years and reports the following.

“The heart has an incredible unique intelligence unto itself, and it has a significant influence on our perceptions, emotional experiences, and our higher mental processes. The heart can actually sense your emotional response to an event before the event has occurred. You may have instinctively felt that the heart is so much more than a blood pump, and science has confirmed that it is. Researchers discovered that the heart has its own intrinsic nervous system that sends a lot of information to the brain, affecting the way we feel, think, and perceive.  The heart sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. Scientists refer to this as the little brain in the heart.

The heart and brain communicate with each other in a complex dance and this information is monitored by the emotional centers in the brain. When we get bogged down with stress, worry, information overload, or indecision, the heart’s rhythm has an irregular pattern. We can feel energy drained with more mental fog making it difficult to focus, remember things, listen deeply, and make clear decisions. However, on the upside, when we experience feelings like love, kindness, appreciation, gratitude, or compassion, it creates a smooth, coherent heart rhythm pattern. This has a calming and balancing effect and creates more harmonious cooperation between the heart, brain, and our nervous system. This not only improves how we feel, but also our ability to think clearly. We are more able to make intelligent choices and decisions. This is termed cortical facilitation.

Research shows that when we practice activating positive heart qualities it has a carryover effect that increases the overall coherence and balance in our system. Therefore, we have more resilience during stressful experiences and can more easily maintain our poise, confidence, and self-security when challenges arise. This is the intelligence of a coherent heart, which is beneficial to living happier, healthier, and a more balanced life.

Research proves that taking a little time each day to promote a healthy lifestyle can help improve your heart health. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) many of the heart related deaths could have been prevented with proper care. Your heart affects every part of your body, and your emotional and physical health are both important for maintaining a healthy heart.

Your health and happiness depend on it, one heartbeat at a time!

Originally published in The Barnstable Patriot 4/15/22