your grateful heart

by Alice Dommert
February 1, 2016

February is one of those months where it’s all about the heart. My heart, and this post, is overflowing with information about this topic. I am not a cardiologist or a neurologist so often when I delve into the research related to the idea that the heart contains brain cells it quickly leaves me scratching my head.

As part of my positive psychology training, an interesting book The Instinct to Heal became a topic of conversation among some colleagues. The book delves into heart rate variability and some other more complex strategies for treating depression and stress without drugs. I’m still digesting many of these, so maybe next year I’ll have more on them.

What I wanted to share was research from an organization called HeartMath. They have many, many areas of research and a few videos. The one I choose to share with you below is one with a simple concept…an attitude of gratitude changes the energy emitted from the heart, and affects the world around you.

So what does that mean? Well, I’m linking ideas and research from several different areas of science here.

Amy Cuddy’s power pose research says the way we hold our bodies matters. The HeartMath research indicates that when we feel gratitude our heart’s rhythms and energetic field changes.

And Tal Ben Shahar’s positive psychology teaching says

  “when you appreciate the good the good appreciates.” 

Okay…so how does that matter to you and me as we sit at our desks every day sifting through emails and tackling the tasks at hand and the bigger challenges of “real life.”

It’s simple. The practice of lifting your heart in gratitude and identifying what you appreciate.

Cat Cow seated at your desk or standing up can help with spine health and also that intention and opening of the chest to mitigate the hunched over posture that you sit in most of the day. With Cat/Cow, see just how slow you can go, feeling every vertebrae moving in a wave from your tailbone to the crown of your head and then from your head to tailbone.

See if you can feel your “smart heart” as the source for the movement. Inhale as you lift the heart for cow and exhale as you feel the heart pull back toward your spine as you curl in for cat.

Or pull out your yoga mat and give it a try on the floor.

For a gratitude practice, we’ll begin exploring saying one word to reflect one thing you are grateful for at the end of each Yoga@Work class in February.

Another way to practice this with your family is to say  three good things you are grateful for every night at dinner with you family or part of a bedtime ritual with your children. See what happens.

For more information and research about gratitude check out Greater Good In Action or take the Gratitude Quiz.

In deepest appreciation.

Alice Dommert

Alice Dommert

Founder, Wholebeing Architect

View my other posts

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