Thursday, April 25, 2024

The intelligent heart

You catch a glimpse, or hear the voice of the object of your infatuation; your heart rate speeds up and butterflies flutter in your stomach. Scientists say this is a reaction caused by the release of enormous amounts of adrenalin, a hormone that activates a fight or flight reaction in the body. The feeling may be agreeable because pleasure inducing hormones, dopamine and serotonin are simultaneously secreted causing euphoria that makes the heart grow fonder.
Without the balance of happy hormones, adrenalin causes strain on the heart, as it is a stress hormone. With the main physical reaction to it being an increased heart rate, emotional stress not only causes heart-ache but also causes variation in one’s heart rate and increases chances of heart disease.

Amazingly, while emotions are physically ‘felt’ in the heart, it has been believed that the brain would have first processed the information. However, neuroscientists can now prove that the heart also sends signals of its own to the brain through nerve impulses originating from the heart. The Institute of Heart Math, on its website, informs: “In a way, we could say that the heart and brain “talk” to one another-and together they “talk” with the body.”

They continue, “Smooth, harmonious heart rhythms associated with positive feelings can send signals to the brain that tell it everything is OK and working in harmony. Positive feelings and smooth and even heart rhythms facilitate or improve the brain’s ability to process signals ÔÇö this is called cortical facilitation. This means that our reaction times are faster and we can think more clearly.”

But, the article says, when jagged and irregular heart rhythms send a message to the brain that says we are upset. These rhythms also have adverse effects on our thinking abilities.

Another startling fact is that the heart generates an electromagnetic field around it that is 5000 times more powerful than the brain’s. This field can be detected several feet away from the heart. This field can also be used to measure emotional stress.

A device that measures stress has been invented. It enables its users to control their stress level by reading the radio frequency waves, giving biofeedback of their heart rate. The machine quantifies heart rate variation, which directly puts a strain in the heart.

As a result, its user can consciously practice stress elevating exercises like deep breathing.


Read this week's paper