It was 5:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning, February 6, 1995. We were at HeartMath's business center in Boulder Creek, California. Dr. Donna Willis, the medical editor for NBC's Today show, had called the previous afternoon to say that they'd decided to run a segment on our work the next morning. They were going to call it "Love and Health."
Dr. Willis would start off with an overview of the Institute of HeartMath's research about the electrical energy produced by the heart. Then she'd go on to tell Bryant Gumbel and the viewers about our Freeze-Frame technique, which uses the power of the heart to manage the mind and emotions.
"We'll have only a few seconds to give them your number," Dr. Willis said, "but you might want to put some of your people on the phones, just in case."
With little time to prepare, we quickly arranged for our staff to come in early to handle any calls -- and it was lucky we did! As soon as the phone number appeared on the screen, the switchboard lit up. For the rest of that day and into the night, then all day long the next day, we fielded calls almost continuously. Each time the show aired in a new time zone, another wave of calls came in.
Bringing "More Heart" Into Your Life
We talked to thousands of people from all over the country -- from anonymous parents in big-city ghettos to leaders in science, medicine, business, education, and religion. Before it was over, we'd gotten calls from around the world -- all from a four-minute segment on a national television show that flashed our phone number on the screen for five short seconds. Why was that brief mention of the heart so magnetic?
The people who called us knew instinctively that the heart played an important role in their overall well-being. "I knew it all along," they said, and now they were eager to find out more. They wanted to know how their thoughts and feelings could be used to improve their health -- mentally, emotionally, and physically. Other people who associated the heart with love wondered what they could do to bring more "heart" into their lives.
This immediate response further confirmed our long-standing belief that people are ready to put the heart to work in their lives. Without knowing the specifics, they sense that loving, positive feelings are somehow related to health, and they do their best to encourage those feelings in their lives.
"Follow Your Heart": Easier Said Than Done
Most people would rather feel loving and appreciative than resentful and depressed. But often the world around us seems to be spinning out of control. Despite our best intentions, it's hard to maintain our emotional equilibrium when we're confronted every day -- sometimes every hour -- with stressful situations.
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We've all been told, at one time or another, to follow our hearts. And it sounds like a great idea, in principle. But the problem is that actually following our hearts -- and loving people, including ourselves -- is much easier said than done. Where do we begin? People talk about following their hearts, but nobody shows us how to do it. What does following the heart really mean? And how do we love ourselves? Aside from love's being a nice sentiment, why should we love other people?
The Heart Sends Us Emotional & Intuitive Signals
Over the past twenty years, scientists have discovered new information about the heart that makes us realize it's far more complex than we'd ever imagined. We now have scientific evidence that the heart sends us emotional and intuitive signals to help govern our lives. Instead of simply pumping blood, it directs and aligns many systems in the body so that they can function in harmony with one another. And although the heart is in constant communication with the brain, we now know that it makes many of its own decisions.
Because of this new evidence, we have to rethink our entire attitude toward "following our hearts." At the Institute of HeartMath (IHM), scientists have found that the heart is capable of giving us messages and helping us far more than anyone ever suspected. "Heart intelligence" can have a measurable impact on our decision-making, our health problems, our productivity at work, our children's learning ability, our families, and the overall quality of our lives.
It's time to reexamine the heart. As a society, we need to take the concept of heart out of confinement in religion and philosophy and put it right in the "street", where it's needed most.
The heart isn't mushy or sentimental. It's intelligent and powerful, and we believe that it holds the promise for the next level of human development and for the survival of our world.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher
HarperSanFransisco. Copyright 2000, 2011.
The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of HeartMath's Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart's Intelligence
by Doc Childre and Howard Martin with Donna Beech.
Access the power of your heart's intelligence to improve your focus and creativity, elevate your emotional clarity, lower your stress and anxiety levels, strengthen your immune system, promote your body's optimal performance, and slow the aging process.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book or download the Kindle edition
About The Authors
Doc Childre is founder of the Institute of HeartMath and creator of the HeartMath system.
Howard Martin is an executive vice president of HeartMath LLC. Visit the HeartMath website at www.heartmath.org.