Thumbs up to HeartMath + expert insight

Part 2 of a 5-part series

It was one of those mornings. You know, the one where everything was zooming by a million miles a minute. The near constant pinging of work emails, anticipation of a deadline-driven day ahead, and the feeling blood pressure was on the rise. Let me re-wind, it was only mid-morning.

I stepped into a life coach’s office to be a client for a day, as part of my research. As mentioned in the first installment of this series, I was being given an opportunity to spend time with a highly experienced practitioner with over 40 years of experience. The strategy he wanted to teach me about today was HeartMath, something he has used with great success.  

HeartMath’s website states, “As you bring your physical, mental and emotional systems into coherent alignment, you begin to experience increased access to your heart’s intuitive guidance. Tuning into your heart’s wisdom creates a profound shift within you that helps you approach situations with more emotional balance, compassion, clarity and personal confidence.”

“It is incredibly beneficial and there’s all kinds of research on it,” Dr. Herrick explained.

The gist of it.  “It has to do with heartrate variability… there’s a computerized screen that gives you feedback on your own heartrate variability in real time.” 

If you’re running stressed, anxious, riddled with fear, etc., do you notice what happens to your heartrate? “It speeds your heart up. Your heartrate variability becomes more chaotic and incoherent,” he said.   

“If you change your thoughts and breathing pattern, you can alter the computerized interpretation of your heartrate variability. The computerized screen presents a very smooth, predictable pattern that reflects an inner quieting and coherence involving your mind, your heart, and your breathing.”  

Herrick follows a 5-point protocol for HeartMath. This is his own adaptation that he has found useful over the years. 

Step 1: “Breathing.”

“Slowing your breathing down to 5 breaths per minute – 6 seconds in and 6 seconds out. Breathing from the lower part of the lungs upward (from the lower to the middle to the upper parts).”

Step 2: “You mentally go to a serene, secure, quiet place.”

Eyes are closed and “when you’re there, use all your senses. This is really important – get your body into the place.” Focus on your senses: look around, listen, smell, feel, taste.

Step 3: “Blowing out stress.”

“As you slowly breathe in you gather up all the stress in your body.  Breathe out through your mouth and blow out a dark grey cloud that represents the stress in your body. The point is to offload all of the stress in your body through the breathing process.”

Step 4: “Focus on heart language.”

Heart language is “love, kindness, tenderness, thoughtfulness, humility, gratitude. Imagine the heart language coming into your heart and you breathe out the positive thoughts into the universe.”

Step 5: “Inner guide” time once the person is relaxed/centered.

“Once you’ve completed the first 4 steps, you’re able to access your own inner guide. The inner guide is a compository of knowledge about all aspects of your life. In this relaxed state, you can find guidance, solace, understanding, and wisdom from your guide.”

While participating in HeartMath “some people are able to see the guide and talk to the guide directly. Others can feel the presence of the guide and can establish communication on a non-verbal level.” 

“The neat thing about HeartMath is it teaches you to enter into a meditative state with concrete feedback as to the depth of your meditative state,” Herrick said.

While going through his 5-step protocol, the heart language is really vital and in my own experience, brought about great peace.

“Having these positive heart language feelings is really healing,” he said. “We can all use this healing through the many aspects of our life.”

“Another incredibly important aspect of HeartMath is to engage in heart language throughout your day. The more you think about, experience, and express heart language the more your heart rate variability is going to be coherent and the more serenity you will have during your day,” he continued.

I have incorporated heart language throughout many days now and find it immensely beneficial.

“The HeartMath protocol is an important tool to incorporate into people’s daily life, to manage their own stresses and to create positive interactive energy with the activities and the people they encounter each day,” he said.    

I underwent HeartMath with no prior knowledge of it. I learned afterwards that in addition to many more, it can be a helpful strategy to:

  • offload stress
  • access the inner guide
  • mitigate panic attacks
  • calm / lower blood pressure
  • relieve tension and stress of migraine
  • reduce feelings of anger and aggression
  • enhance positive healing, thoughts throughout the day

The experience of HeartMath has changed the way I navigate through my day, approach both easy and tough moments/decisions, and how I talk to myself. I am a big believer that how you treat yourself plays a role in not only health, but relationships. 

Through HeartMath’s process of embodying heart language, I am able to practice this by myself at home and reach benefits such as: a better night’s sleep, a more optimistic approach to a situation that could easily be viewed pessimistically, and hopefully to inspire you, as a reader and friend, to be kinder to yourself, especially on those extra hard days. 

Heart language “has a very important role to play in our daily life,” said Herrick. “You take the feelings of love and you visualize this energy flowing through your body. And whoever you meet, wherever you are, people can readily experience this love and acceptance that flows from you.” 

The final step of HeartMath is connecting with your inner guide. “This inner guide has been with you since the beginning. It is the inner voice that talks to you, protects you, and shares so much wisdom and insight to help you through your life,” Herrick said.

Whatever comes to you is okay. Happiness, emotions, a feeling, a saying, an image. This can lead to “incredible insight and understanding” of our lives. “After you have these various feelings, consult your guide about what to do” in that particular area of your life, he said.

“The guide will pull together and give you the wisdom and understanding that would take weeks of therapy to get,” he continued. 

HeartMath is a positive, empowering strategy to have at your fingertips. 

Should you be interested in learning more about HeartMath or finding a practitioner in your region, please check out its website:   

Watch for more in the series, “Tapping away stress and anxiety” on April 27, 2023