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Neurochemical Soup

Before the meeting, one of my colleagues had started on a tirade of complaints and resentments that were decades old. the complainerHer tirade quickly dropped the energy of everyone in the room.

My shoulders were starting to tense up and my stomach was already starting to roll around. That’s usually how second hand stress or negativity in my environment gets translated into my body.

With a valiant effort we were able to bring our focus to the agenda and go on with the business of the organization. It was not the fun interaction with colleagues I had come to expect from our meetings.

It is important for you to know that your feelings are translated into neurochemicals by your brain and nervous system that flood every cell of your body with stress or well-being. In other words, mind and emotion becomes matter.

We spend our days swimming in this neurochemical soup.

It doesn’t matter if this neurochemical response is stimulated by someone else’s tirade, or your own tirade of complaints. It can feel like a runaway train, especially if tinged with resentment.

Every one of us has challenges in our lives and sometimes we just have to express our frustrations to allow them to move out of our bodies.

For a way to express frustration without having it turn into a runaway train, check out this blog on how to whine constructively – “Whiner is Back” –

Most of us know that it takes a long time to stop a runaway train. With a real train, it takes at least a mile to bring it to a complete stop.

Stopping a runaway train in your own mind takes the power of the heart.

The Power of Your Heart

Power of your heartWhat feeds your heart?

In our isolated world right now we are excruciatingly aware of missing the love and connection of others in our circles. How fortunate we are that our world is exploding with creativity and brilliance on how to connect online.

For many years, I have been a member of a musical group in my city that meets once a month to listen to performances of members of the group. Because of the cancellation of group gatherings, our meeting last month was cancelled. This week, my heart was fed with the brilliance of performances of Bach and Chopin by a couple of my colleagues over Zoom. Then we had a guessing game to see who could guess the theme songs of several movies played by another colleague.

As you ask, “what feeds my heart?” consider these aspects of yourself: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

The Physical Heart

your physical heartYour physical heart is the center of your physical universe. Your heart sends nourishment and life force energy to every cell in your body 24/7. As soon as the heart stops beating, life stops.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has wonderful guidance on what feeds your physical heart. Here is a link where you can explore:

It is interesting to note that managing your stress is an important part of maintaining heart health. Stress is an enormous contributor to heart disease.

The Brain in Your Heart

the heart-brain connectionDid you know that your heart sends more information to your brain than your brain sends to your heart? This is one of the findings from scientists in the field of neurocardiology.

At last count, your heart contains at least 40,000 neurons. It has its own brain. And your heart is in constant and intimate contact with your brain and nervous system.

The Emotional Heart

your emotional heartEmotions actually work faster than thought! The amygdala, a core element in your emotional brain, is in constant contact with the information streaming from your heart to your brain.

The amygdala can shut down your thinking brain before any information even gets to the thinking brain. Fear and worry does this. These feelings keep you locked in emotional reaction and shut off from the pre-frontal cortex, your thinking brain.

This emotional reaction fractures our wholeness and keeps us fractured as long as we stay captured by fear and worry.

The only thing that can over-ride this hijack of the thinking brain is your heart. Your heart needs to send information to the amygdala that will change the reaction.

It takes time to stop a train.

This isn’t a ‘one time application’ and it’s done. Life isn’t like that. Here are 3 tips to keep in your basket for those times when you really need a daily practice or reminder to feed your heart.

TIP 1: Shift from Brain to Heart

  • Take a deep, slow inhale to a count of 4
  • Exhale slowly to a count of 4
  • As you inhale again to a count of 4, imagine that you are inhaling into your heart
  • As you exhale to a count of 4, imagine exhaling from your heart
  • Continue inhaling and exhaling to a count of 4 from your heart for 10 more breaths
  • Notice how you feel.

TIP 2: Gratitude

This is the perfect thing to do after you have completed the 10 breaths from Tip 1 with your focus on your heart.

  • With your focus on your heart, write down (or record on your phone) 3 things you are grateful for.
  •  Feel gratitude in your heart for each of the things you wrote down.

TIP 3: Vocalized Sigh

A sigh is your body’s natural way of releasing excess nervous energy from your nervous system. A sigh actually stimulates the release of hormones that helps your body heal and manage pain. When you vocalize the sigh on a long ahhhhh… it stimulates a more powerful release of these hormones.

  • Inhale and exhale to a slow count of 4
  • Inhale and exhale again to a slow count of 4 with your focus on your heart
  • Inhale slowly again and as you exhale slowly, vocalize a long ahhhhh….
  • Do this 3 more times
  • Notice how you feel.

As you become more present within your daily life, you will notice that the beautiful qualities shining within your heart begin to shine in your life – compassion, love, joy, bliss, fun, resilience and more.

Now let’s consider the engine that runs the heart.

The Spiritual Heart

The spiritual heartFor millennia, many of the world’s greatest thinkers and philosophers have thought that the soul resides in the heart.

What feeds the spiritual heart is meaning. When you feed the spiritual heart, you feed all other dimensions of your heart.

What gives you meaning? How do you create meaning in your life?

These could be the most important questions you can ever ask your heart.

Creating meaning in your life creates wholeness in your heart. When you create wholeness in your heart, you create wholeness in your entire being. And when you create wholeness in your entire being, you bring wholeness to our planet.

In reality, you were created as a whole being and will always be whole. We create a dis-connect with reality when we PERCEIVE ourselves as fractured, or less than whole.

When you create wholeness within your being, you amplify the wholeness of our planet. Sound and music, since time immemorial, are activities that remind us of our wholeness. The natural healing ability of your being is stimulated by reminders of your wholeness.

One heart at a time is how we heal a fractured world.