The importance of emotional health
The Institute of Heart Math Research Center has spent the last 20 years focusing on the heart- brain connection and discovering the benefits to our physical health of being in a positive emotional state. When we are in what’s known as the coherent heart state measured as 0.1 frequency using an EEG monitor. Our mind, body, spirit and emotions are working harmoniously together. In this optimum state we are better able to communicate, solve problems, be creative and even have better physical co-ordination. This is a good place for us to be living our lives from but trying to be in a state of heart coherence in our fast paced technological society can prove challenging to say the least. Whilst there is a big focus on physical exercise and appearance there is little recognition of the need to look after our emotional health and the detrimental effect it can have on our well being if we don’t. This coupled with the British cultural conditioning of keeping ‘a stiff upper lip’ means as a nation we are very good at repressing our emotions rather than expressing and releasing them.
There is growing evidence from the new science of Epigenetics that this strategy for coping with emotions is the root cause of many physical symptoms and disease we experience. Bruce Lipton, a stem-cell biologist discovered it’s the emotional environment we create in our mind that impacts the health of our cells not our genes. This discovery means we can no longer ignore our feelings and emotions. Finding ways to ensure we spend time in the coherent heart state is not just something we should ‘fit in’ our busy lives but a state we should aim to be in constantly. We need to recognise that slowing down and feeling gratitude and appreciation for life will bring many benefits to mind, body and spirit that our modern society does not make time for.
Here I outline 5 healthy habits you can develop to improve your emotional health
Create some daily quiet time
Find a time every day that you can turn everything off and spend some time in a quiet place. Switch off the TV, Computer, Phone and whatever other gadgets you feel like you can’t live without and spend at least 15 minutes just listening to what comes up for you. There maybe emotions and feelings you find uncomfortable and you may have the urge to grab your phone or computer to distract yourself. The reality is those emotions and feelings are trying to get your attention for a good reason. This is an opportunity to tune into your heart and listen to what it’s telling you and the first step towards creating a deeper connection with yourself and your inner world.
Develop an awareness of when you are stressed
Modern society and our use of technology has brought us many advantages but an unwelcome consequence has been our levels of stress have increased. The commute on the tube, the bullying boss, the relationship that’s not going quite according to plan and the cigarettes and wine you tell yourself are relaxing you at the end of the day are all contributing factors to your stress. For some people stress becomes a way of life but this is when it get’s dangerous. Your body was never designed to be in a constant state of stress and if you don’t take time to become aware of when you are stressed sooner or later you will experience burn out, illness and in some cases serious disease.
Take the time to notice when you begin to feel stressed, how you feel in your body, the thoughts that are running through your head and how this effects the way you interact with others. Once you’ve noticed when you are feeling stressed you can learn healthier ways to reduce it than drinking another cup of coffee or smoking a cigarette. Believe me these are adding to your stress, not reducing it!
Emotional Freedom Technique is fast becoming the safe and easy way to release stressful feelings in the body and mind. Whilst focusing on the stressful feelings in your body that may manifest as a tight chest, knot in your stomach or other physical sensation caused by stress. You tap on a sequence of meridian points to rebalance your energy and bring you back into the parasympathetic calm state when you have been triggered into a stressed or fight/flight state . EFT is also known as ‘emotional acupuncture’ and the basic tapping points can be found here http://www.freehearteft.co.uk/howtotap.html. Learning to tap rather than reach for a cigarette or a glass of wine that just have the effect of suppressing your feelings is a much healthier way for you to deal with stress and will help you return to a coherent heart state associated with optimum health.
Be kind to yourself
Our money focused society conditions us to believe that being successful means having more money, more stuff, more sex and more power. This means we are all working really hard to achieve these goals that if we really stopped and thought about it. We might realise are not bringing us the happiness we were promised but instead are making us feel like we never have enough and feeling stressed because we are chasing an impossible dream which wasn’t ours in the first place. Participating in this competitive culture can mean we are very hard on ourselves as each of our achievements is barely acknowledged in our race to achieve the next goal, pay rise or rung up the ladder. Being kind to yourself means working out what’s right for you rather than blindly following someone else’s ideas about what makes a successful life and what brings happiness. The reality is happiness is very personal and only you know what truly makes you happy. The greatest kindness you can give yourself is taking the time to work out what happiness means to you. There is no better way to improve your emotional health than taking whatever action you need to make sure your life has the right mix of ingredients that make you happy.
Find a community of like-minds
Once you’ve identified what makes you happy and experienced the benefits of improving your emotional health. You can further support yourself by finding a community of like-minded people who have similar ways of bringing happiness into their lives. It may be by listening to your heart you have identified some situations or habits in your current life that are not supporting your emotional health and that you need to let go of that which is no longer serving you. Being in a community of like-minds can help you ensure you find the support you need whilst you develop new habits that improve your emotional and physical health as you embark on this new path.
The more you experience the benefits to body, mind and spirit of improving your emotional health the easier it is to continue on this new path and begin to share the benefits with others. Never underestimate the impact you can have on others as they see the positive effect the changes you have made bring to you and the potential for themselves.
© Amy Branton.
Amy Branton runs Free Heart EFT a heart centred therapy practice covering Brighton & Hove, Worthing, Lewes, Shoreham-By-Sea and Lancing dedicated to helping people bring positive change to their lives by improving their emotional, physical and spiritual health and wellbeing using EFT and Matrix Reimprinting.