Wellness Pathway #276 Engage Your Heart

When it comes to health and wellness, the heart is the hub of the wheel. It generates more energy than any other organ of the body, beating an average of 100,000 times per day or 2.5 billion times over the course of an average lifetime. So it’s worth paying attention to all those articles about heart health. Fueling the heart with oxygen-rich blood that is low in cholesterol, triglycerides, homocysteine, and inflammation is an investment in the future that reaps rich benefits in the present.

The heart is not only a physical pump. It is an electromagnetic organ often identified as the seat of emotional and spiritual energy. Taking care of the heart, then, involves far more than just changing the oil every 3,000 miles. It involves paying attention to and engaging the heart at every level.

The most obvious level is the physical one. No one can walk up at a steep hill at a brisk pace without engaging their heart. The heart rate increases, along with our respiration rate, and we start sweating to bring down our body temperature. This does not weaken the heart. It makes it stronger. Anyone who thinks they are doing their heart a favor by taking it easy all the time does not understand how the heart works. The worst thing you can do with an engine is to let it idle, at the same low speed, ad infinitum.

So, too, with the heart. We have to mix things up in order for the heart to be healthy and fully engaged. We have to both increase and decrease the heart rate from its normal baseline, at regular intervals, if we hope to make the most of those billions of beats.

If vigorous, aerobic exercise increases our heart rate above the normal baseline, meditation and breathwork move in the opposite direction. They assist us to lower our heart rate below the normal baseline. In this quiet state, not only does the heart get to rest but we become more aware of our own emotional and spiritual energy. This benefits the heart physically and renews the connection of body, mind, and spirit.

Do you find it difficult to take the time to meditate and breathe? Two computer games are now on the market that will assist some people to do this more regularly. Both involve what might be called a heart mouse. Instead of controlling things on the screen by pointing and clicking with your finger, the biofeedback sensors enable you to control things by raising and lowering your heart rate and, in the case of one game, your skin conductivity.

To raise your heart rate while sitting still requires rapid, invigorating breaths. Belly laughing, which fully engages the diaphragm, works great for this with the added benefit of getting more laughter into your life. To lower your heart rate requires slow, deep breaths — in through your nose and out through your mouth.

The two computer games are similar as to the technology but different as to the screen content and themes. The Journey to Wild Divine has a mythical, new-age story line while Freeze-Framer has more of a scientific tone. For those who are computer oriented, the engaging sights and sounds of these games — along with the novelty of controlling things on the screen without typing, moving your mouse, or talking — may be just what the doctor ordered for those who want to engage their heart for life.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you pay attention to your heart rate? Are there times when you intentionally raise it through exercise and lower it through breathwork? Would computer games be a good way for you to do this on a more regular basis? Who could assist you to develop practices that would lead to a healthier heart?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Wellness Coaching programs and to arrange for a complimentary wellness coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Bob.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

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