The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of HeartMath’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence by Doc Childre, Howard Martin, Donna Beech
This book was an excellent introduction to Heart Rate Variability; the timing between heartbeats. HRV is instrumental in overall health, and learning to impact your own HRV thru training was extremely informative, and a practice I started working with promptly after completing this book.
Let’s start with a definition of heart intelligence from the book:
Heart intelligence is the intelligent flow of awareness and insight that we experience once the mind and emotions are brought into balance and coherence through a self-initiated process. This form of intelligence is experienced as direct, intuitive knowing that manifests in thoughts and emotions that are beneficial for ourselves and others.
An important takeaway for me was that the heart and brain communicate back an forth, and it is NOT one way from the brain to the heart.
They’ve found that the heart has its own independent nervous system—a complex system referred to as “the brain in the heart.” There are at least forty thousand neurons (nerve cells) in the heart—as many as are found in various subcortical centers in the brain.  The heart’s intrinsic brain and nervous system relay information back to the brain in the cranium, creating a two-way communication system between heart and brain. The signals sent from the heart to the brain affect many areas and functions in the amygdala, the thalamus, and the cortex.
Emotions such as stress and happiness have a direct impact on the messages between the brain and the heart, and learning to understand and control your heart’s signaling is a very powerful tool.
To summarize, here’s a psychological equation that clarifies the essence of the HeartMath Solution: Activating heart intelligence + managing the mind + managing the emotions = energy efficiency, increased coherence, enhanced awareness, and greater productivity
They have done many in-depth studies on different emotions and how they relate to heartbeat metrics. An interesting comparison I noted was that they assessed the sympathetic bleeding heart is a lower heart, intelligence-wise. Compassion though was shown to be a higher heart.
Stress is a major cause of health status decline.
four important points to remember about stress: • Stress is a matter of perception. It isn’t events themselves that are stressful; it’s our perception of them. • Stress isn’t about just the major problems in life. Stress accumulates as a result of our not managing the little things—our habitual reactions, actions, opinions, irritations, and frustrations. • Resentment, anger, frustration, worry, disappointment—all negative emotional states, justified or not, take a toll on your heart, your brain, and the rest of your body. • There’s hope. By learning to access your core heart power and the higher-heart feelings associated with it, you can bring your system into increased coherence. This will give you new perceptions and the intelligence you need to transform stress into an opportunity for empowerment.
KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER Positive emotional states create coherence in the human system. Distress creates incoherence. When a system is coherent, virtually no energy is wasted, because its components are operating in sync. By learning to access your core heart power and the higher-heart feelings associated with it, you can bring your system into increased coherence. As you learn to establish balance and harmony between your head and your heart, you’ll gain a more intelligent perspective on your stress. By applying new intelligence to stress, you can decrease its power to drain your energy. Physiologically, it simply doesn’t matter whether your anger is justified or not. The body doesn’t make moral judgments about feelings; it just responds accordingly. The real ailment in today’s society is what goes on between good health and the manifestation of disease—stress accumulation and decreased quality of life. Accessing the intelligence of the heart—bringing about balance and clarity of perception—is an effective stress-reducing prescription. It will give you the intelligence you need to transform stress into an opportunity for empowerment.
And then onto a technique they recommended:
Here are the five steps of the FREEZE-Frame technique: 1. Recognize the stressful feeling and FREEZE-FRAME it! Take a time-out. 2. Make a sincere effort to shift your focus away from the racing mind or disturbed emotions to the area around your heart. Pretend you’re breathing through your heart to help focus your energy in this area. Keep your focus there for ten seconds or more. 3. Recall a positive, fun feeling or time you’ve had in life and try to re-experience it. 4. Now, using your intuition, common sense, and sincerity, ask your heart, What would be a more efficient response to the situation, one that would minimize future stress? 5. Listen to what your heart says in answer to your question. (It’s an effective way to put your reactive mind and emotions
The institute also has a home device used for training your own Heart Intelligence. It gently clips to the ear and hooks into your phone’s headset jack. It allows you to get real-time feedback on where you are on the HRV scale and how quickly you can gain control. The more you practice the better you become, so that when stress arises you become more adept at controlling your emotions through heart intelligence
I have used this device and even have my kids using it regularly, one prefers to meditation so we let that slide as her guided meditation. They can go into a room upset, and come back out as calm as a monk.
Please reach out if you would like more info on how to implement this or any other stress reduction techniques.
This Book Report collection is meant to provide some of the best take-home points from the health and science genre I read. I will continue to go thru my notes of the 160+ and counting (as of January 2019) Kindle books I have on file. To view ALL the notes I saved on this one AND many others without a Book Report post yet, THAT IS ALSO SEARCHABLE, please click here.