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The Science of Heart Coherence

health & vitality Mar 22, 2022

I'm writing this post from beautiful Durango, Colorado. If you are also traveling this week with your family, I wish you a safe and fun trip!

If you’ve ever noticed how your heart rate and rhythms change as you experience different emotional states, you may be aware that there is a close connection between the heart and the brain. This connection is one of the key areas of research for the HeartMath Institute®, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals, families, groups, and organizations enhance their life experiences by accessing their intuitive insight and heart intelligence. 

As Director of Research at the HeartMath® Institute, Dr. Rollin McCraty has extensively studied the connection between the heart and the mind, as well as the physiology of emotion and how emotions influence cognitive processes, behavior, and health.

In Episode 85 of The MINDSet Game® podcast, Dr. McCraty discusses some of his research findings, the importance of heart-centered change as a way to shift thought patterns that are no longer serving you, and simple tools you can use to bring your physiology into a calm, coherent state each day. 


The heart-brain connection

Many people think of the amygdala as the fear center of the brain. In reality, Dr. McCraty explains, the amygdala is constantly looking for patterns and trying to identify things that are familiar to you. Therefore, when a certain thought pattern or situation becomes familiar, the brain seeks out similar patterns in order to feel more comfortable. 

Meanwhile, the heart – as a major source of rhythmic activity in the body – is constantly sending inputs directly to the amygdala, and these inputs play a key role in establishing your baseline thought patterns. As a result, in order to replace maladaptive thought patterns with ones that will serve you more effectively, it’s essential to work on changing the rhythm of the heart.


The role of the heart’s energy in groups and relationships

Not only do the rhythms of your heart affect your own thoughts and feelings, but they can also impact how you communicate and connect with those around you. Whenever the heart beats, it generates electricity, which creates a magnetic field around the body – and this field can be detected by others in your vicinity. If you’ve ever walked into a room and instantly sensed tension – or alternatively, a relaxed and comfortable feeling – you have likely experienced this effect. 

Dr. McCraty also addresses the link between baseline thought patterns and organizational change. Since humans are wired for connection with each other, we have shared baselines in addition to those within our own brains. When change becomes necessary in an organization or other type of group, it is commonly met with resistance due to the way that our brains seek out familiar scenarios. Therefore, in order to navigate a change successfully, it’s important to be conscious of these shared baselines and take steps to improve communication. 


How to shift your baseline thought patterns

Most of us can probably identify at least one default thought pattern that feels comfortable and familiar, but is no longer serving us. Dr. McCraty shares a few simple tools that can be used to shift these patterns.

For instance, he discusses the Heart Lock-In® Technique, which involves focusing your attention on the rate and rhythms of your heart and then using one of the tools suggested by the HeartMath Institute to shift your physiology into a calmer, more coherent state. This can be done each morning in order to prepare yourself to respond to the day’s inevitable challenges with resilience, as well as any time that you notice yourself falling into patterns that are no longer serving you. 

Here is a video of my guiding you through the Quick Coherence® Technique to help you shift into a more coherent state.


To learn more about the powerful connection between the heart and brain, as well as how to work with your heart in order to bring about positive changes in your life and relationships, tune into Episode 85 of The MINDSet Game podcast!

To learn more about the tools and principles of HeartMath, visit

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