As the saying goes, “you must listen to your head or your heart”, but did you know, your head and your heart are connected in more ways than one.
HeartMath is an approach that centers around improving your emotional wellbeing by understanding the connection between your heart and your brain. Most believe that your brain primarily sends signals and messages to your heart, however, studies have shown that your heart actually sends more signals and messages to your brain. These signals can affect your emotional processing, attention, perception, memory, and so much more. For example, when you feel stressed, your heart beat is usually messy and inconsistent and this pattern then gets sent to your brain which causes your brain to feel messy and limits proper cognitive function. On the other hand, when you have a stable heart pattern, your brain also feels stable and so you feel calm
When doing HeartMath, you want to measure your heart-rate variability (HRV). A greater variability means you’re more able to adapt to stress, and this is typically when you are younger. As you get older, individuals tend to have a lower HRV, and so coping with stress becomes more difficult. However, this can be offset through various mental health techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, and other relaxation techniques. The Journal of the American Heart Association noted that practicing regular mental health techniques can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In their research, “60,000 people found that people who meditate regularly have lower cholesterol, better blood pressure and less chance of diabetes, stroke and heart disease than those who did not have a regular relaxation routine.” Furthermore, when you practice HeartMath and other mental health techniques, you can experience an increased resilience against stress, improved productivity, a happier mood, and a holistic feeling of self-care.
Here are some simple relaxation techniques you can try right now at home (or at the office):
- Mindful breathing using a 10-second rhythm. Spend five seconds on inhale, and 5 seconds on exhale, and repeat. This has been shown to be a useful technique to calm yourself if you’re in a stressful emotional state.
- Meditating 5 to 10 minutes a day to improve HRV
- Sit quietly with your eyes closed
- Breathe slowly
- Relax muscles and clear your mind
- Concentration on your breath as you inhale and exhale deeply
- Set a timer for 10 minutes
- Repeat daily
The importance of mental health and self-care has been an incredibly prevalent topic in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only should these practices be implemented individually, but even in workplace settings. Research has shown that 61% of employees believe they have made healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s wellness program, which in turn increases their mood, energy, and productivity.
If you’re interested in practicing your mental health training or corporate wellness programs, HoliFit PH is now offering mental health services and much more. Contact us at email@example.com for more information
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Photo credit from: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/brain_health.htm