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The Heart-Mind Connection: How Your Heart Plays into How You Feel

Have you ever felt your heart sink when you've received bad news or experienced a moment of joy so deep it traced through your chest? It turns out our hearts do affect the way we feel. Research from the HearthMath Institute (HMI) has found that the heart produces neurotransmitters—chemical messengers responsible for transferring information between neurons in the brain. This means that emotions and sensations that we may have previously attributed solely to our brains are just as much rooted in our hearts.

How Does Heart Intelligence Work?

The HMI conducted experiments to measure the effects of people's thoughts on their own bodies and those of others around them. For example, they found that people can transmit emotional information via their heart’s electromagnetic field, creating an energetic resonance between two people that affects both parties. The Institute also discovered that neurons in the heart produce neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, just like neurons in the brain do. This means that our hearts play an important role in mediating our feelings and regulating positive emotions like joy or appreciation.

Heart Coherence

One of the most telling signs of this phenomenon is what’s known as heart coherence—a phenomenon that occurs when the heart rate variability (HRV) starts to synchronize with our breathing. When this happens, there is a strong correlation between emotional states and changes in HRV; when we feel more relaxed and at ease, HRV increases significantly, signaling that our bodies are being regulated by a unified system rather than operating independently. This suggests a direct link between emotions and how our hearts function physiologically.

The Brain-Heart Connection

HearthMath has also studied the brain-heart connection extensively, finding evidence for what has long been suspected: That our brains are constantly receiving input from our hearts (and gut) about how we feel about certain situations or experiences. This connection works both ways; when we think certain thoughts or experience certain feelings, signals from our brains travel down to influence activity in our hearts and back up to influence activity in our brains again. This is why taking time to connect with ourselves through meditation, or mindful activities can help us process difficult emotions more effectively–we are creating space for communication between these two parts of ourselves to work more harmoniously together.

It's no surprise that science has caught up with what we've known all along—that there is an undeniable connection between our hearts and how we feel emotionally. Today, thanks to decades of research from organizations like the HearthMath Institute, we now know exactly how these two realms work together to generate powerful feelings within us all day long. Understanding this connection can help us navigate life with greater awareness and self-compassion and tap into deeper levels of peace during times of distress or challenge. Ultimately, it reminds us of the power that lies within us every day—in both our minds and hearts.


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