The capacity to change one’s emotional reactions is essential for general well-being and for successfully juggling life’s obligations. Our physiology and the reciprocal connections between our physiological, cognitive, and emotional systems play a key role in how well we are able to self-regulate the quality of feeling and emotion of our moment-to-moment experiences. These interactions serve as the building blocks of information processing networks, which allow systems to communicate with one another by creating and transmitting rhythms and patterns of activity.
Cardiac coherence plays a crucial role in highlighting the communication routes between the heart and brain and how they connect to cognitive, emotional, and self-regulation abilities.
Self-inflicted happy emotions improve the coherence of physiological functions, which is reflected in the rhythm of the heartbeat. The capacity to do higher cognitive tasks, maintain emotional stability, and achieve states of calmness are all significantly aided by this change in heart rhythm. This creates a new inner baseline reference throughout time, which is a form of implicit memory that arranges perception, emotions, and behavior. People run the risk of becoming “stuck” in comfortable but harmful emotional and behavioral patterns and experiencing their life through the automatic filters of prior comfortable or painful experiences if they don’t set a fresh baseline reference.
However, most people have probably experienced a balanced state at some point, which is typically characterized by feelings of contentment, happiness, control, and harmony both within oneself and with others. Regardless of circumstances or demographic factors, most people want to reclaim this state and feel good again. The effort to comprehend the mechanics and dynamics of this coveted condition penetrates both scholarly and popular literature, inspiring interdisciplinary lines of inquiry and research. We refer to this feeling of internal and exterior intrapersonal connectivity as “coherence” in a wide sense.
What is Cardiac Coherence?
More information regarding the ways that breathing exercises encourage calm may be found by closely examining one well-liked approach, cardiac coherence. The method makes an effort to sync breathing and heart rate using biofeedback, slowing and steadying breathing to slow and steady the heartbeat. It aids in regulating heart rate variability (HRV). This method effectively employs a screen to demonstrate to participants how slower, more deliberate breathing might result in more regular heartbeat spacing (although never the same). This activity has the relaxing impact that you would anticipate from reading about breathing exercises. This method of relaxing is alluring since it is so straightforward and has such immediate results. Based on breathing, cardiac coherence aids with relaxation, focus, and sleep in both adults and children.
The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which are a component of the body’s natural processes through the autonomic nervous system, are specifically used for cardiac coherence. While the parasympathetic system encourages rest, the sympathetic system enables the body to protect itself against external aggressions. The goal of cardiac coherence is to achieve equilibrium between these two neurological systems so that a person is neither too tense nor utterly insensitive to danger. Which nerves are stimulated depends on how one breathes. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are activated during inhalation and expiration, respectively. The goal of cardiac coherence is to produce heart rate variability that promotes inspiration and expiration to be equal, which results in the balance that produces the advantages of conscious breathing.
The Relation Between Cardiac Coherence and Emotional Healing
Scientific research has demonstrated that when we actively or accidentally foster feelings of gratitude, love, and compassion (as opposed to emotions of worry, rage, or fear), our heart rhythm oscillations appear to be more coherent or consistent. This coherence has been associated with feelings of wellbeing, increased emotional stability, and achieving the highest levels of mindfulness.
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Whether the stress is mental, emotional, or social, we all respond to it differently. This implies that the coherence of our hearts can change at any time. We all look for various methods to live more comfortably.
Our heart beat really becomes more regular when we practice appreciation and compassion, which is associated with a higher sense of wellbeing. Researchers have discovered that the heart’s constant messages to the brain have an impact on how higher brain areas responsible for perception, cognition, and emotional processing operate. Because our hearts genuinely respond to and are related to the earth frequency oscillations, research shows that our hearts may also entrain the hearts of those around us.
Cardiac coherence is based on a natural breathing process that helps people handle stress and anxiety effectively. It directly affects the body’s hormones and heart rate. It specifically results in:
- A lowering of heartbeats and heartrate, which speed up in response to emotional shocks (stress, rage…).
- Hormone control (endorphins, serotonin, adrenaline…). The body does indeed release many hormones throughout the day.
The heart synchronizes with the breathing frequency as a result of this breathing technique. In other words, cardiac coherence promotes emotional and physical harmony by assisting in the recovery of the physiological equilibrium between the heart, the brain, and the body. The communication routes between the heart and brain are highlighted by cardinal coherence, along with how they connect to cognitive, affective, and self-regulatory abilities.
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Getting Started with Cardiac Coherence -What Is Cardiac Coherence Training (CCT)?
Cardiovascular coherence training (CCT) uses biofeedback to manage heart rate variability (HRV), or the fluctuation in heart rate from moment to moment. A person can learn to control their heart rate variation to make it more rhythmic or coherent with the aid of the doctor. The techniques acquired through biofeedback may be used at home for relaxation and utilized as a stress-reduction tool while going about your everyday business. The program, though, teaches much more than just how to relax; participants also learn to value themselves, replace negative emotions with pleasant ones, and more freely use their hearts and compassionate sides.
Background of Cardiac Coherence Training
Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight response), whereas relaxation or good emotions activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Numerous studies have revealed a clear link between sympathetic vs. parasympathetic tone and conditions including heart disease, hypertension, depression, and anxiety. The brain and the nerves around the heart seem to have a two-way communication mechanism.
The immune system and stress hormones in the body are impacted by this system. Studies have demonstrated the advantages of CCT for the control of stress and anxiety symptoms, work satisfaction, and academic and occupational performance. Additionally, difficulties in cardiac patients may be increased by the HRV pattern linked to a stress reaction.
Use of Cardiac Coherence Training
Most frequently used to promote overall health and stress reduction such as:
- Conditions at home, at school, or at work that is stressful
- Depression, anxiety, phobias, or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Stress has an impact on relationships and physical or mental health.
- Health issues including hypertension and coronary artery disease, which may both be significantly influenced by stress
Putting cardiac coherence into practice with the help of CCT
You can practice cardiac coherence and, more specifically, mouth inhalations and mouth exhalations, using breathing exercises. We recommend that you sit or stand comfortably in a quiet area with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor in order to properly exercise cardiac coherence. Cardiac coherence can also be paired with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) practices like yoga or meditation, hypnosis, coprology, or qi gong.
A cardinal coherence procedure, which is frequently a key component of CCT, can help you unwind in only a few minutes. Three concepts serve as the foundation for this “365” process:
- 3 times a day;
- 6 breaths a minute ;
- 5 minutes.
Simply take a five-second deep breath in, followed by a five-second exhalation that is uninterrupted and unblocked. Six times in a row should be completed this technique. The heart is best in coherence when breathing at this frequency.
Create abdominal breathing by visualizing a balloon in your stomach. The balloon expands as you inhale; on the other hand, it deflates when you exhale.
How to do the Heart (cardiac) Coherence Breathing Exercise?
Refer to this video and sync your breathing with this ball. Find a peaceful place, calm yourself, relax your muscles and now breathe in the rhythm of the ball. Follow the steps mentioned below:
- Inhale into your belly for five seconds.
- Exhale for another five seconds.
- Repeat for three to five minutes.
- Please mind the following:
- Avoid breathing like a robot, or like you’re scuba diving.
- Breathe naturally, as you usually do, just slower.
After three to five minutes, you‘ll notice a meditative trance. It feels like a deep relaxation, inner calm, and increased awareness. This meditative trace is called coherence.
Benefits of Cardiac Coherence
When we are coherent, we are truthful with ourselves, we truly embrace the facts and our feelings in reaction to the facts, and we act in accordance with our hearts and take coordinated action. We can gain from brain and heart coherence when we continuously practice it:
1. Feeling Whole
When we practice brain and heart coherence, we reside in the “now” since it implies unconditional acceptance of what is ( as opposed to living in the future or dwelling on the past). This makes us feel whole and eliminates the yearning for escape.
2. A sense of unity with the world and yourself
Our sense of connectedness with ourselves and the rest of the world grows stronger as we learn to embrace who we are and how our lives are. It promotes profound relaxation and a sense of oneness with the rest of the planet since we breathe in life freely and without resistance.
3. Inner Serenity
We train our minds to think that no matter what occurs, we will always have our own backs and we will always be OK by taking more heart-centered acts. Great inner serenity is brought on by this, along with sentiments of deep faith in our own strength.
4. Lessening of Stress
We feel less need to worry about the future or spend time in the past when we truly embrace our existence as it is, breathes it in, and let our bodies enjoy it. Acceptance leads to letting go and significantly reduced stress. Because, once more, when we act from our emotions, our mind learns that we will be okay no matter what occurs.
5. Increased Vitality and Energy
We think a lot less and feel a lot more when we are coherent. Additionally, when activities are in alignment, there is no longer any need to linger; simply to act. Since we know where we’re going, we can direct all of our effort in that direction.
6. Increased Originality
We have more mental space the less we think. And the more we feel, the more our creative force is released. All of a sudden, we begin to have more original thoughts on circumstances in our lives that we had never considered before, as well as more suggestions for original ways to represent who we are. And when we act on these concepts, the happiness brought about by our choices has a tangible impact on every aspect of our life.
7. Mastery of Emotional Intelligence
We stop avoiding our emotions and begin racing toward them when our mind, body, and soul are in harmony. We voluntarily plunge into the ocean of our very sensitive heart because we are no longer frightened. We are aware that the heart is resilient, and the further in, the more liberated we are. With this greater freedom comes a sincere desire to comprehend our feelings, give them meaning, and behave in accordance with our own values. Additionally, the more we use it, the more we discover about ourselves (and consequently about others as well). When challenging emotions arise, we develop ever-new coping mechanisms and begin dancing with them, relishing even the most “negative” ones.
8. More Robustness
We practice educating our brain that we will always look out for number one. As a result, we have developed amazing resilience because we know what to do when challenging circumstances try to knock us off our feet.
9. Stable mental state
Trust is the cornerstone of good mental health. This includes trust in oneself and in one’s ability to maintain a deep connection of trust with one’s heart. Once this trust has been built, there is no one else who can destroy it. This trust cannot be damaged by events outside of your control since it is a result of your own deliberate choices.
10. A Better Physical State
According to research, being coherent boosts your immune system lowers stress hormones, enhances heart health, and supports general wellness. The actual “health inside-out” phenomena might be attained and quantified in this way.
11. A Deeper Connection to Yourself and Others Emotionally
Your ability to plunge deeply into relationships with people and build trusting, real connections with them will increase as you become more compassionate toward yourself and your own emotions.
12. Better Life Quality
Every aspect of a person’s life is impacted by the elements mentioned above. Life gets easier, richer, deeper, happier, and more fulfilling. And the more of this abundance you possess, the more you crave, which inevitably results in more joy, vigor, and energy. However, you are no longer required to consider it. You are what you are.
Steps to Create Cardinal Coherence
4 Easy Steps to Create and Regain Cardiac Function Coherence in the face of emotional turbulence to promote rapid and sustained emotional recovery.
- Close your eyes while you supinely lay on your back (sensory deprivation facilitates integration). Ascertain that your neck, head, and spine are all in a neutral position.
- Place your hands on each side of your navel, one centimeter lower, and focus your consciousness and concentration there. Make a connection with this spot of your body.
- Start by taking several long, slow breaths into your belly, making sure that your hands lift with each inhale and fall further into your body with each exhale. The best breathing technique is to inhale for five seconds, pause for two, then exhale for seven seconds, pause for two, and repeat. (This particular breathing technique raises HRV and vagal tone, which promote coherence within the autonomic nervous system (ANS)).
- To see benefits, do this for 10 minutes, 5 days a week for 30 days.
Your second neurological center is brought into coherence by this four-step procedure by unwiring and unteaching old, unprocessed habits.
Download our free worksheet to get started with involving cardiac coherence in your lifestyle.
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