Therapy Spotlight

A Heart-Centered Approach to Emotional Health

by Barbara Barnes

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February is designated as American Heart Health Month. Every year, from Wear Red Day on February 1 to numerous Go Red For Women events and other public service campaigns, February is a time to direct our attention to the health and well-being of our physical heart and its health. (Check out the events in your area: they are informative and fun.)

But what about the emotional health of your heart? What can we do to strengthen our hearts emotionally?

Because the heart is a powerful, influential and life-giving part of self, it is a critical to address the emotional health of our heart. To that end, here is a simple and easy-to-learn technique from HeartMath called the “Quick Coherence Technique”. This process helps bring the heart and the brain into alignment on a physiological level, which helps increase our resilience to the ups and downs of life and manage stress better. Take a few minutes to try this and see how it feels.

Step One: Heart Focus. Sit calmly, close your eyes (you can

do this with eyes open as well) and breathe quietly. Gradually and naturally deepen your breaths and slow them down. When you’ve established this pace, internally, continue to breathe this way and shift the focus of your attention to your heart center, that area in the center of your chest. While maintaining this focus, move on to…

Step Two: Heart-Focused Breathing. Keep the pace of your inhalations and exhalations slow and deep. Now begin to imagine or pretend that you are actually breathing in and out from your heart. See, sense or feel the breath coming and going from your heart. Do this in any way that seems comfortable to you. You may “see” the breath, or visualize the exchange of energy. There is no wrong way to imagine this activity. Continue this for several minutes.

Step Three: Heart Feeling. This is where the healing energy comes in, my favorite part. Bring into your awareness a time, situation, person or circumstance that is positive. Activate any positive emotions associated with that time, situation, person or circumstance. Now, breathe this emotion and the effect that positive energy has, in and out through your heart. Each breath in brings that positive healing energy in – each breath out sends that positive healing energy out into the world. Do this for several minutes. When it feels right, gently allow yourself to come back to full conscious awareness. Feel the energy of this process physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. You can access this experience, or repeat the process throughout the day, whenever you want a boost of powerful, positive energy to lift you.

Ahhh. Feels good, right? Try it. Play with it. Make it a part of your self-care and emotional management routine. Your heart will thank you for it. Sending health and healing energy to you all. For more information about the Quick Coherence Technique and more from HeartMath, visit Heartmath.com.

Barbara Barnes, BSN/RN-Retired, MA/LMHC, owner of Lotus Heart Therapy LLC, offers therapy, consultation, groups and workshops. For more information or to contact Barbara call 425-483-8463 or e-mail at BarbBarnesWork@comcast.net. See ad, page 31.