In many cultures around the world, people start each morning thinking about what they’ll do that day. They check their schedules, plan their activities and make their lists. Understandably, they’re focused on the myriad things they need to accomplish during the next 12 to 16 hours.
This morning “prep” can be very valuable. But before you dive into the day’s agenda, I invite you to focus on something different. Ask yourself: “What heart, care and compassion will I bring to this new day?”
For several months, I’ve been starting each morning with this question. We all know a day can bring many things, of course – some anticipated and some not. But now I consider what I can bring during that day – to others, to myself, and to the world.
This is a new approach for me, and I’m finding it’s adding ease and care throughout my day. It makes me feel as though I am creating life, contributing to others and controlling my time.
A heart-focused approach can change our attitude toward life. And it will almost certainly help us become more consistent conduits of care and compassion.
Connect and Commit
Most of us have been in difficult or volatile situations in which we’ve had to remind ourselves to be still and breathe deeply before we do or say something we’ll regret. We’ve told ourselves not to overreact, and to try to imagine ourselves in others’ shoes. We’ve probably even reached out and helped improve the lot of others.
But many of us must admit that there have been times when we did not do these things. We forgot to take a breath and empathize. We may have reacted in anger or fear, or frozen and done nothing in the face of others’ negative emotions, pain or misfortune.
People who live a heart-focused life are consistently better prepared for all situations. In addition to starting the day with the question I mentioned earlier (“What heart, care and compassion will I bring to this day?”), they designate a special time each day to more deeply connect with the heart. They go within, establish heart coherence and access the heart’s intuitive intelligence. They make a commitment that regardless of what happens, they will bring the qualities of the heart to bear on all their activities and encounters.
Practicing Heart Qualities
My own experience, along with that of many others, demonstrates the benefits of practicing the qualities of the heart. But rather than relying solely on anecdotal evidence – however powerful – HeartMath has spent more than two decades conducting scientific research to verify these benefits.
This research has shown overwhelmingly that people’s lives can improve measurably when they sincerely engage their heart qualities – what HeartMath calls practicing heart-based living. The findings have been published in books, professional journals and elsewhere, and have been widely cited around the world.
For an example of the science behind heart-based living, let’s take a look at HeartMath’s emWave™ technology. Like a standard electrocardiograph machine, the emWave device monitors an individual’s heart rhythm in real time. We at HeartMath believe that when people invoke a heart quality or positive emotion, such as a sincere appreciation of a loved one, a cherished place or a family pet, the quality of their heart-rhythm patterns improves.
Through HeartMath, thousands of people have used this technology while practicing heart qualities. Many have actually seen changes in their heart-rhythm patterns, and can attest the benefits they’ve experienced. I myself use the emWave2 regularly, and I love it.
Now science has backed up our belief. Researchers studied thousands of cases of people practicing heart-focusing techniques. Study participants were from a broad range of subjects, males and females, from young children to seniors, and from those of modest to affluent means. They included students, doctors, soldiers, teachers, police officers and corporate executives.
The researchers found that the people who practiced heart-focusing over several weeks or longer exhibited marked improvement in their heart-rhythm patterns. They also chronicled compelling evidence of significant improvements in these same people’s mental, emotional and physical health.
“The Hearts Intuitive Intelligence“
Recently I was part of a team that created a video that gives an overview of the important role of the heart in personal and global coherence. The video, “The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence,” features beautiful animation and runs a little over seven minutes. To watch it and read about the science behind it, please click here.