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Neurocardiology and Heartmath “The Heart of Jesus?”

Neurocardiology and Heartmath “The Heart of Jesus?”

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Neurocardiology and Heartmath “The Heart of Jesus?”

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  1. Neurocardiology and Heartmath“The Heart of Jesus?” AAPC Conference April 2012 Leesburg, VA

  2. Emotional Management and Bio-feedback • This is called “Cortical Inhibition”… where fear, anxiety and frustration dominate. Its first measurable symptom is impaired thinking and then, loss of coordination.

  3. Cortical Facilitation The opposite is called “Cortical Facilitation”. It occurs when positive emotions, appreciation, and coherence dominate. Cortical facilitation is a science term that describes enhanced reflex speed, focus, emotional control and clear thinking.

  4. Focus on Coherence • So your success in handling stress probably isn’t in avoiding stress, but how well you can manage or down regulate your emotions . • Most people will follow an experience of anger or irritation with poor decision making and going on the attack, but anger is always preceded by the recognition of a threat (i.e. fear). • It is possible to create an internal state called “coherence” to put our pfc back in control

  5. Heartmath has focused on the positive emotion response. • Synchronized activity in the brain and nervous system can be achieved by self-generating a coherent heart rhythm pattern. • Results are: • Immediate- in one hour, or in one day • Measurable- you can watch your heart rhythms change in real time. • Sustained- you continue to improve your ability to get in the “Zone” and advance in the “Zone” after 3, 6, 12 mos…

  6. Ask yourself the following questions: • How do I want to deal with being nervous, anxious, afraid, worried, or angry? • How do I want to respond to stress (vs. react)? • How can I be in my best emotional state? • MENTAL FOCUS QUESTIONNAIRE

  7. Heartmath & emWave So stress is much more than external events, but also about managing your inner state. Personal Stress Reliever

  8. The heart rate variability pattern shown in the top graph, characterized by its random, jerky form, is typical of feelings of anger or frustration. Sincere positive feeling states like appreciation (bottom) can result in highly ordered and coherent HRV patterns, generally associated with enhanced cardiovascular function

  9. Two Aspects of CNS

  10. These systems need to be working in sync as well! • Otherwise, it’s like driving your car with one foot on the gas and the other on the brake. • The sympathetic system was created to keep us alive and initiates the “fight or flight” response. • How many stress responses do you think you have in a day?

  11. Somewhere between 30-50 according to Harvard Med School researchers • The problem is that your modern 21st century brain can’t distinguish between a 5000 B.C.E. threat. • Therefore, you get the same physiological response. • So in experiencing stress, what is the threat?

  12. Get down to the “heart of the matter”!

  13. Heart has great bioelectromagnetic field than your brain (approx 10x)

  14. What might implications be for “vibes” your sending to your partner? • We live under the illusion that our emotions and our energy are solitary and only impact us. • We’ll be looking at relationships and the brain as we move into the course.

  15. The three brains • 1st Brain- controls your instincts, reflexes, and basic physical functioning and coordination. Often referred to as the amphibian or reptilian brain. • 2nd Brain- the Limbic (border) or middle brain that controls feelings and emotions. • 3rd Brain- called the cortex, is involved in thinking, problem-solving, goal-setting, and planning. (It also monitors 2nd brain’s activities).

  16. Three Brains in One

  17. How do three brains work together? • While all three brains interact all the time, they need to act in harmony for optimal performance. • In other words, they have to be in sync with one another. • The question remains, “Who do you want running the show?” The prefrontal neo-cortex is known as the Executive!

  18. Five Brains????? • The Stomach???? 1000’s of receptor sites. • As we have mentioned the heart- 40,000 neurons (at least).

  19. Problems in “brain function” • When we act mainly from the 1st brain, we react from instinct alone with no thought given to the consequences (survival mechanism). • When we act mainly from the 2nd brain, unmanaged emotions can play to strong a role in our decisions and effect performance. • So the answer must be…. 3rd, 4th, 5th Brain?

  20. Not necessarily! • When we are operating mostly from the 3rd brain, we can get trapped in “looping thoughts” that lead to excessive worry and anxiety (cognitive therapy would call these cognitive distortions). • The often have a negative tone; “I’m so stupid.” “I always make this mistake.” I’m just dumb.” • Or just pessimistic and pressuring oneself!

  21. Another problem with the limbic system. • There is a little almond-sized structure in the 2nd Brain called the amygdala (ah-MIG-dah-la). This is where your memories are processed. • Thus, it can trigger memories of a past situation where you encountered negative emotions. • Amygdala has two circuits to receive information; 1) fast track and 2) slow track. • The fast track bypasses the pfc and goes straight for the memory and causes stress hormones to be released (primarily cortisol).

  22. So we’re out of brains (or are we?) • Some have related that the heart is a second brain as it sends as many signals to the brain as it receives. • Research shows that if we can develop coherence of heart rate variability, we can calm down the other systems. • Thus, not only does the brain “talk” to the heart, the heart “talks” to the brain.

  23. We can use the heart to create cortical facilitation. • But we still focus with the rhythm of your breath, because it affects the rhythm of your heart rate. • New breathing patterns changes the heart’s rhythm. • This is further increased when we choose positive feelings like care, love or appreciation.

  24. This is called “Quick Coherence” • Step 1- Heart Focus • The first step is to focus your attention in the area of your heart. You can focus your attention on any part of your body, so let’s start with this simple exercise. Focus on your left big toe and wiggle it… Okay, now focus on your right elbow… Now, gently focus on the area in the center of your chest, the area of your heart. If you’d like, you can put your hand over your heart to help.

  25. Step 2- Heart Breathing • In Step 2, as you focus on the area of your heart, imagine you are breathing through your heart. Imagine your breath is flowing in and out through that area. Breathe slowly and gently…in through your heart (to a count of 5) and slowly and easily out through your heart (to a count of 5)…Do this until your breathing feels smooth and balanced-not forced….As you continue to breathe with ease for a few moments, you will find a natural inner rhythm that feels good.

  26. Step 3- Heart Feeling • The third step involves positive feelings an attitudes. Continue to breathe through the area of your heart and find a positive feeling, like appreciation, care or compassion. You can recall a time you felt appreciation or care to make it easier to find a positive feeling now. This could be the appreciation of care you have towards a special person, a pet, a place you enjoy, or an activity that was fun. If you can’t feel anything, it’s okay, just try to find a sincere attitude of appreciation or care. Once you’ve found a positive feeling or attitude, you can sustain it by continuing your heart focus, heart breathing and heart feeling.

  27. APPRECIATION • Research on Positive Psychology (cf. Seligman, Barbara Fredrickson)! • HeartMath takes Cognitive reframing one step beyond. • Antonio Damasio, M.D. (Research) Descartes’ Error, Looking for Spinoza, The Feeling of What Happens, Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain

  28. When to use “Quick Coherence” • Whenever you feel anxious, nervous, irritated or agitated. • Whenever you feel stressed, angry or mad! • Whenever you feel frustrated! • Whenever you feel sad or blue! • Whenever you just feel off your center

  29. emWave PSR2 or PC Stress Relief System • The bio-feedback that you can get from these devices can exponentially speed up your progress. • Of course, the PSR is portable and can be used at anytime. • New version is compatible with PC and Mac!

  30. Practice with PSR2 • Can be found at: • Or

  31. Neurocardiology and the Polyvagal Theory

  32. Vagus or 10th Cranial Nerve • First, afferent nature described by Darwin. • Neuroception describes how neural circuits distinguish whether situations or people are safe. • 80% of nerves fibers from heart are afferent. • Two vagi- a phylogenetically older vagus that is un-myelinated and a newer myelinatedvagus. The key to the freeze reaction!

  33. Freeze Frame • Stop the motion picture. • Switch to a positive emotion.