You know that feeling, when you get so angry that your head is about to explode or you can feel the fire in your gut? Maybe you’ve taken it a step further and said or did something that felt so good in the moment and regretted later. Or how about this situation? You have a project at work and there are no good ideas flowing. You get so in your head that this mental block causes you to have trouble sleeping or being present with your family in the times you are alone with them. Sounds so familiar?
What if I told you that I have a solution? This solution could help you with anger, fears or phobias, anxiety and stress. You have to promise me one thing. You have to practice this daily whenever you remember to and like working out and building muscle, you have to remember that there is a muscle memory and it’s going to take some time to see results. Don’t give up or dismiss this too quickly because there will be moments when this is a challenge.
Before we begin, let me share with you a little about me and why I use this technique. I’m a thinker. I’m analytical and my left brain loves to override my right brain or the creative side of me. I feel like in another lifetime I could have been a detective. Nothing gets past me. I can almost get to the bottom of every problem. My brain just wants to do what it does best and it wants to solve! This can work against me, I’m in my head so much that at times I can’t think my way out of a dilemma. If I’m not careful, my brain will keep going through the night on an endless loop causing me to lose sleep. It’s so damn maddening. So, the solution to this is not a quick fix to my problems and I can always use this when new issues arise.
We need our brain and our heart to work together, in coherence. The heart plays a major role in our emotional system. Your heart beat pattern becomes chaotic when you experience stressful emotions. A coherent heart shows balance between the autonomic nervous system (heart rate, digestion, hormones) and communicates information to your brain and other parts of the body like the nervous systems, blood pressure waves, etc. (See reference listed below.)
So often, even the smartest individuals make bad decisions, they will say to themselves: “I knew better, I don’t know why I did that.” It’s because in the moment, they let their brain override their heart. Without sounding too woo-woo, think of ourselves like a computer. Our brain is like the hard drive and our heart is like the computer screen. All of our life’s experiences are remembered in our brain and all of our life’s feelings are in our heart. We can’t turn on the hard drive of the computer without seeing what we need on the screen to do our work efficiently. It’s evident that our brain processes data but our heart does as well. When we let our brain override our heart, this can lead to heart issues.
What we need to do is follow our heart instead of leading with our head. Most of us find this scary because we think we will be criticized or taken advantaged of or we won’t get what we want. But what you show is your true authentic self and people will respond to you more positively. It takes a lot of energy to keep your emotions covered. People can feel your manipulation, complaints and resentment in your presents even if it’s not communicated through talking and it’s a huge turnoff.
There are three steps to this process and you’ll eventually need to focus so that all three steps correspond at once.
Whenever a negative emotion arises, redirect your focus on feeling your heart. If you have trouble with this that’s okay. Take a second to close your eyes and try to feel your big toe without touching it. Now, move that focus to the center of your chest and feel this area around your heart. Still having trouble? Put your hand over your heart. I realize this may seem weird if you are trying to do this in a middle of a heated conversation but if you practice this focus privately on your own time regularly when you feel indifferent, that heated moment to redirect that focus from your head to your heart will start to become common. Second, once you can feel your heart center, now breath in deeply but comfortably. Focus on your breath, imagine breathing into your heart’s center and exhaling through your solar plexus (a few inches above your belly button.) And the final step, bring up the feeling (without trying to thing to hard) of appreciation of a person, pet, place or thing. If you have trouble with this, set the intention of feeling those feelings and it will eventually come to you. Sooner or later, this process will work as one, immediately feeling your heart, breath and appreciation as second nature.
This heart-based approach has worked wonders for me. I’ve learned to respond intelligently instead of reacting emotionally. I no longer let my heated emotions from a situation like someone cutting me off in traffic, to get the best of me or ruin my day. Sure, it’s easier said than done and what about those people who just push your buttons so bad!? Like I said before, this takes time, if you are persistent, you will see a gradual difference and will notice progress over time, feeling better. Responding from the head and not from the heart is a leading cause of many layers of emotional pain.
If you want to read more on this topic going more in-depth about anger along with some personal stories, a great book to read is Transforming Anger by Doc Childre and Deorah Rozman, Ph.D. Don’t let your day or week turn into an emotional tailspin. When you remember to catch yourself, you can get to a place where you can say, “let’s turn this around and see how good this day can get” rather than steam.
I really hope this helps. Remember to give me any feedback on your progress. I would love to hear from you on your transformation.