What is stress?
Stress is a term to describe the wear and tear the body experiences in reaction to everyday pressures and tensions. While we often attribute how we feel to the causes, such as illness, injury, changes, social challenges etc, it is how we respond to them that can have long-term effects.
How does stress affect health?
According to the American Institute of Stress, up to 90% of all health problems are related to stress. Stress directly affects digestion, immunity, growth and healing, and reproductive health. Chronic stress is known to contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, cancer, depression, weight gain and sleep disorders.
How does it work?
Research done at Heartmath and other centres, have found that stress causes “incoherence” in the heart. The heart rate always varies (except in certain heart conditions), and the variation can be erratic, or it can be smooth – this is known as coherence. Erratic heart rate variation in turn causes erratic brain patterns, erratic breath patterns, and other disruptive effects in the body. Your body is literally out of sync, leading to disorganisation, disorder and finally, disease.
Interestingly, it was also found that positive emotions, like joy, appreciation, care and kindness create a harmonious pattern in the heart’s rhythms – and also in the brain, nervous system, and other body systems. The heart “entrains” the other systems, so their rhythms become harmonious and coherent. Coherence leads to mental clarity, as well as creativity and better problem-solving abilities; which in turn help a person adapt better to stressful situations.
How to induce heart coherence?
A very quick and easy way to induce coherence and a sense of relaxation and ease, is a heart-based meditation in three parts:
- Bring your awareness to the heart space, and feel for any sensation in that space.
- Imagine you are breathing into that space through the front of your chest, and out again the same way.
- Visualise within that space, a person you care deeply for; and feel the sense of caring, of gratitude and of love.
Practise this meditation for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times daily; and see how this can change your response to life’s challenges!
How we can help
At Global Health Clinics, we can do an assessment to determine your heart coherence levels, which in turn reflect your stress levels. You will see for yourself, how your thoughts create instant responses in your heart coherence! You will come to realise how crucial positive thought habits are for your heart, and for your health and wellbeing.
We will then guide you through a technique to help you easily achieve heart coherence, often within the first session. With regular practice you will become skillful in maintaining a coherent state through life’s challenges. This will have profound effects on how you experience life.
All our seriously ill patients, such as cancer sufferers, are encouraged to assess their stress levels and practice a heart coherence technique. Regular use has resulted in significant stress reduction benefits.