The Power of Your Emotions
"When all of our intentions and actions in daily life originate from the intuitive wisdom of our hearts; when we feel and act with sincere appreciation, caring and kindness for others; and when we can observe the world around us without the preset judgments of the mind but rather with the compassion in our heart – then we will truly be living from the heart." HeartMath Institute founder, Doc Childre*
More people than ever before from many different backgrounds, cultures and walks of life are talking about the heart. More company mission statements are making it a point to mention the importance of the heart in leadership and customer care. More speakers, articles and books, both spiritual and non-spiritual, are referring to the heart. Whether people mention speaking from the heart, listening to the heart, connecting with the heart, or following the heart, it is a clear sign that there is increased energetic awareness of the importance of the heart in all of life’s decisions.
One of the most important and empowering aspects of practicing “Heart-Based Living” is learning to discern your heart’s intuition from your mind’s ambitions and to follow your heart. The energy saved by following your heart’s discernment reduces your personal stress and enhances your creative problem-solving capabilities. Sincere compassion eases the way for effective human interactions and higher outcomes. Because of the increasing stress factors in the world today, more people are starting to realize that ambition to get ahead cannot justify shutting off the emotions of a caring and compassionate heart.
In order to perform our best while instructing Spinning®, coaching and/or competing, being able to access and sustaining pleasant and positive emotions, such as happiness ~ challenge, adventure and opportunity is critical. Emotions that stem from threat or lack ~ such as fear, frustration, anger, or sadness ~ have a toxic energy associated with them as they trigger the body to release stress hormones. From an energy perspective, negative emotions are costly and inefficient. They drain our physical and mental energy reserves and have a negative impact on our performance and our relationships with others.
Did you know that YOUR positive emotional energy has the power to “wake up” others?
The Institute of HeartMath has explored the role in which the heart plays within human performance. Our emotional state not only affects our mental and physical health, it also affects the emotional state of those around us, and much more than we know. Our emotional energy is felt by and influences others around you. Research done by HeartMath has discovered that the heart’s electromagnetic field is by far the most powerful rhythmic field produced by the human body. It not only envelops every cell of the body but also extends out in all direction into the space around us. The Institute studied the interactions that take place between one person’s heart and another’s brain when two people touch or are in proximity. This research found that the electromagnetic signals generated by the heart have the capacity to affect others around us and concluded that one person’s heart signal can affect other brainwaves, and that heart-brain synchronization can occur between two people when they interact. So think about how your emotional energy can actually help shift the dynamic on your team, in your classes, meetings, your workplace, at home and in the grocery store even!
It is important to manage our physical energy properly because physical energy is the fundamental fuel for igniting our emotional skills and talents that support our performance. Physical and emotional energy capacity is inextricably linked. When our physical energy reserves get depleted, one of the consequences is that we begin to feel a sense of fight or flight and move into a highly negative energy dimension which alerts us that some need is not being satisfied. This state creates a cycle of negative thoughts which expand into negative emotions. In turn, these negative emotions trigger destructive behavior patterns, which can compromise the quality of our communication, leadership and relationships in the workplace, gym and at home. For teachers, leaders and managers, and parents negative emotions are doubly insidious, because they are so infectious. If we are prompting fear, anger and defensiveness in others, we progressively undermine their ability to perform effectively. The ability to consistently communicate with positive energy lies at the heart of effective management.
In order to break this cyclical pattern to achieve sustained positive emotions, we need to strengthen the emotional “muscles” or competencies that fuel positive emotions, such as: self-confidence, self-control, interpersonal effectiveness and empathy. Smaller supportive “muscles” include patience, openness, trust and pleasure.
Access to the emotional muscles that best serve performance depends on creating a balance between exercising them regularly and intermittent recovery, much the same way the bicep muscle needs recovery after exposing it to the stress of lifting a weight repetitively. We can run ourselves down emotionally if we are constantly spending emotional energy without recovery. Our emotional muscles end up getting weaker, not stronger. When our emotional muscles are weak – for example, if we have a lack of self-confidence or too little patience – we must systematically build our capacity by creating rituals that challenge us past our current capacity and then take some time to recover.
There is a "state of ease" that each of us can access to help release emotional turbulence and help maintain coherent alignment between our heart, mind and emotions. Learning to access our personal space of "inner-ease" can be done with minimum practice and in just a little time. When operating in an ease-mode, it’s easier to choose less stressful perceptions and attitudes and re-create "flow" in our daily routines and the classes we teach.
Simply changing channels is one of the most effective rituals to refuel emotionally. Engaging in any activity that is enjoyable or fulfilling, such as Spinning®, tends to prompt positive emotions. How many hours per week do you devote to activities purely for pleasure and renewal? When was the last time to truly let go and felt fully disconnected? The key is making these activities a priority and treating the time you spend engaged in them as sacred. Researchers have found that the richer and deeper the source of emotional recovery, the more we refill our emotional reserves, feed our emotional muscles and the more resilient we become.
Sources: The Power of Full Engagement, author Jim Loehr; The Clarity Compass, Exploring Patterns, Helaine Fisher & Angela Reiner; “The energetic heart unfolding” Retrieved from: http://www.heartmath.org/free-services/articles-of-the-heart/energetic-heart-is-unfolding.html