Do you ever feel like your head and your heart just aren’t on the same page? Your thoughts tell you one thing, but your feelings tell you another. On the other hand, you probably also know what it feels like to be completely at peace in your heart in your mind: in a state of “flow” or “harmony.”
This tension between the heart and the brain is a very real—and significant—aspect of who we are. Science is now confirming that the brain and the heart each have a type of “intelligence,” and that we can actually create this state of harmony with a little bit of practice.
This harmony is called coherence. When your thoughts, emotions, and intentions are unified, you will experience tremendous unity and peace with yourself and a deeper connection to those around you. Research shows that when we shift into a coherent state, the heart and brain operate synergistically, like two systems that mesh into one.
What is Coherence?
Coherence is when your brain (thoughts and decisions) work hand-in-hand with your heart (emotions) and body (actions you take). It is a state of unity between your mind, body, and spirit.
“Coherence is the state when the heart, mind, and emotions are in energetic alignment and cooperation,” HeartMath Institute Research Director Dr. Rollin McCraty says. “It is a state that builds resiliency—personal energy is accumulated, not wasted—leaving more energy to manifest intentions and harmonious outcomes.”
Did you know that your heart functions like a second brain? Our hearts contain neurites—similar to neurons in the brain—which carry out cognitive functions and communicate with other parts of the nervous system. Our hearts also produce an electromagnetic field that reaches between three-four feet around our bodies and affects those around us (what we call “the vibe”).
Research demonstrates that different emotional states produce different heart patterns, which influence our electromagnetic field. These patterns have distinct effects on cognitive and emotional functions. During stress and negative emotions, when the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered, the corresponding pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain inhibits higher cognitive functions. This limits our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. In contrast, the more ordered and stable pattern of the heart’s input to the brain during positive emotional states has the opposite effect – it facilitates cognitive function (helps you think clearly) and reinforces positive feelings and emotional stability.
This means that learning to generate increased heart coherence by sustaining positive emotions, not only benefits the entire body, but also profoundly affects how we perceive, think, feel, and perform.
To put it into simple terms: when we feel positive emotions, such as care, appreciation, and joy, our entire body functions more efficiently and in a higher state of overall health. This doesn’t mean, however, that negative emotions should be ignored or repressed. Feelings like anger, disappointment, and other “unpleasant” sentiments are important! The question is: how fast do you resolve what the emotion is asking of you and bounce back to baseline?
Brain (Thoughts and Intentions)
On the other side of our emotions and intuition lie our thoughts and intentions. According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, our brain is actually comprised of three separate regions that communicate with one another, facilitating wholeness.
The neocortex is the part of the brain that controls cognitive functioning and our ability to learn. It is the seat of our consciousness and the distinguishing factor that separates us from animals. The frontal lobe of the neocortex is the CEO of the brain. It’s where we make decisions. It is responsible for learning, attention, speculation, judgment, behavior control, and restraining emotions.
Once we learn a concept, we apply it in practice, which produces an emotional experience. At this point, the second brain (the limbic brain) starts to produce chemicals that differ based on the quality of the emotion. You are starting to teach your body chemically how the experience of actualizing your intentions felt.
When you get your neocortex and your limbic brain in sync over and over again, matching your actions with your intentions, and the process becomes so ingrained in you, you activate the third brain, the cerebellum. The cerebellum is responsible for helping you develop implicit memories. It’s like your thoughts and intentions becoming second nature. You’ve synchronized them so many times you no longer have to think about it. It’s who you are.
Our bodies are the vehicles through which we apply our knowledge about ourselves and the world, they are the vehicles through which we express our spirit/heart. And as you can see, the concept of brain & heart coherence, or simply wholeness, can not be fully actualized until our actions start reflecting our understanding of our emotions and desires, our thoughts and intentions. All three parts have to be “married” and remain in a never-ending dance with each other, reasoning and finding common ground from situation to situation.
When we match our actions to our intentions, we get our mind, body, and heart to start working together.
Today we have discovered, that the power of brain & heart coherence lies in synchronized harmony of mind, body, and spirit. And the best part is, this state of flow doesn’t have to be accidental. We can learn how to achieve it through a diverse set of practical tools and techniques. In our upcoming blogs, we will look at all of those tools, some quick and simple with immediate results, and some deeply fundamental, with the power to change your life.
And during our free workshop on February 8th, we will get to dive deeper into the subject and practice coherence together. We can’t wait to see you in the most gorgeous setting of Loft 1023 on February 8th, and until then, let’s chat in the comments below.
The Alleviant Team