Practicing Gratitude through HeartMath
By Ashley Reichel, Holistic Health Coach, Neurofeedback Specialist
Gratitude, a word that floats around mainly at thanksgiving time when by nature we start to focus on the things we are thankful for, can benefit you year-round when you continuously practice it! Gratitude, though seemingly simple, can be hard to genuinely tune into, especially when we are in stuck emotional patterns of anxiety, depression, or stress. HeartMath, a form of biofeedback that leans on breathing techniques and a connection to genuine feelings of gratitude, is a heart centered (and science based) practice that can connect you to a gratitude practice that also eliminates the impact of stress and anxiety on your bodily systems!
Gratitude is one of the many differences between HeartMath and other forms of breathing techniques such as meditation or yoga belly breathing. Here at IMCNY we offer HeartMath sessions that teach you how to connect to your heart, and tune into feelings of gratitude. The access to and practice of gratitude while breathing slower and deeper through the heart area creates a shift from depleting emotions (fear, stress, anxiety, and anger) to more renewing emotions (gratitude, joy, love, compassion, and calm). This shift creates positive change that, when practiced regularly, can be accessed more quickly, and can be sustained longer during stressful or emotional charged situations.
Though seemingly simple, it can be difficult for people who have been living in a chronic state of anxiety, for example, to connect to a feeling of gratitude. They have lived so long with that sense of heightened vigilance and in fight or flight, that slowing down and just breathing can seem daunting. When some begin HeartMath, it feels uncomfortable, and it is at this point we encourage people to continue and not dismiss the practice. Being able to commit to just 2-3 minutes of these techniques just 2-3 times (or as needed) throughout their day, can have a huge impact on their ability to self-regulate their depleting emotions, and sustain a more balanced calm state of being.
So how does one begin seeking more gratitude through HeartMath? Start Practicing! Below you will find a sample of one of the basic techniques we teach during an introductory HeartMath session at IMCNY. HeartMath begins with two simple techniques on which more advanced specific techniques build upon. An intro session is a great place to start, or through a 4-session package that builds on the basics and includes coaching and mentoring to troubleshoot and guide you through your HeartMath journey. If you are interested in learning more, or want to get started, please contact us at 315-741-5774.
Heartmath Quick Coherence® Technique
Focus your attention in the area of the heart. Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area, breathing a little slower and deeper than usual.
Make a sincere attempt to experience a regenerative feeling such as appreciation or care for someone or something in your life.