The Fridays@4 Society ended last week restoring balance and health to lead us into the weekend and beyond. Melissa Curtin shared with attendees how to tap into the intelligence of our hearts to build resilience and provide coherence.
She reminded us that often the stressors in our life are mostly of our own creation and that ultimately, we are responsible for our stress. Humans often focus on items that are in our past of how we could have done things differently. But those items are in the past and we need to be present in the here and now and focus on our future. Humans live in a chronic state of stress and COVID didn’t change that. It may have even exasperated it even more. And when stress sets in, we tend to turn to comfort first and not necessarily items that would help us regroup and refocus such as exercise, nutrition and proper breathing.
The key to building a healthy life is understanding your body and understanding what stress does to it. The speaker equated stress to a rattlesnake bite and how you have limited time to get the antivenom after a bite. Our bodies when they feel stressed release cortisol and once released it can take 13 hours to get it out of the system, so we must react quickly to stressors and build resilience to fight the negative affects that can occur with stress. Resilience falls into four domains – physical, emotional, spiritual and mental. If you can balance these areas, you build coherence and maintain balance.
The other piece to understand is how the heart is affected by stress. If the cortisol levels are released and we are feeling negative emotions, then we develop a cortical inhibition which causes fogginess in our brain and reduces our ability to function. If we experience good emotion, we develop cortical facilitation which allows us to think clearly, make better decisions and function at full capacity. The signals the heart sends to the brain allows the brain to determine what our overall emotion will be and if we can remember to breath and refocus, we can reverse or stop the negative effects of cortisol and become fully coherent. This is all explained more in a video from the HeartMath Institute on The Fascinating Relationship Between the Heart and Brain.
Towards the end of the session we practiced the Inner-Ease™ Technique. The first step is to acknowledge your feelings, then focus on heart-focused breathing imagining each breath allows you to feel inner-ease and then when things calm down acknowledge the commitment that you want to anchor. Attendees left the session feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the weekend.
If you would like to see the session, a recording can be found in the Fridays@4 event archives.
Additional Resources related to this topic can be found on the HeartMath Institute website.