Follow Your Heart

I’m sure you have heard this somewhere, at some time. But what does that mean? To me it means living from my heart. That still might not be enough to give you a good understanding. Let me tell you more.

Our mind/brain tends to rule us like a dictator. When we follow the brain, we are ruled by our what we have learned and what has been handed down over the years; this influences our understanding, actions, reactions, and decisions. When you think of actions and reactions think about emotions. So often we react to our emotions only to later regret our actions. We don’t need to do that; we can learn to reprogram our brain and respond rather than react. By reprogramming our brain, we can then respond in a way that aligns with our values, in a way that we choose, in a way that will lead us to being the person we want to be. By following constantly following our brain there is a good chance that you are doing what you have always done. We know where that will lead – to the same results you have always gotten.

For example: Stress often causes people to react (respond) by habit to challenging situations with anger, resentment, frustration, hurt feeling. We know these behaviours are destructive, to both you and the receiver.      

https://www.heartmath.org/articles-of-the-heart/the-math-of-heartmath/heart-based-living/

The term Heart-based living can mean something as simple as including your hearts’ intuition, your mind, and your values as you make decisions/choices. Your heart has wisdom in its/your feelings you want to learn to discern this wisdom and find the guidance to make that process easier (HeartMath is one source of guidance).

What would it look like to follow your heart? What would others see?

Love, compassion, kindness, patience, forgiveness, cooperation – these are a few of the qualities you might see in yourself when you begin to follow your heart, and you can look for these qualities in others.

You do not need to follow any specific religion to follow your heart. Following your heart is an intelligent way of living that can help reduce stress, separation, and greed which are the drivers of our major problems (think world, and then focus in on your community, then yourself).

The information in this blog is from https://www.heartmath.org/articles-of-the-heart/the-math-of-heartmath/heart-based-living/

Love Makes the World Go Around

porapak-apichodilok

Is it love or money that makes the world go around? Or might it be something else? I shared my thoughts on money making the world go around, now my thoughts on love making the world go around.

Check out Dion Jackson’s song ‘Love Makes the World Go Around’. I like to believe it is love that makes the world go around, if it isn’t it should be. Yes, we can be hurt by love. I’ve been there a time or two. But I am better for having loved and been hurt than to not have loved.

Love is a great feeling, regardless of what kind of love it might be, whether we are giving love or receiving love. The love of your parents or children, of your partner, or a friend. As I searched to find out what others had to say about love I found eight types of love. 1) Passionate love (Eros), 2) Deep friendship (Philia), 3) Self-love (Philautia), 4) Enduring love (Pragma), 5) Universal love/ selfless love (Agape), 6) Familial love (Storge), 7) Playful love (Ludus), 8) Obsessive love (Mania).  Other than obsessive love, all love is positive.

What if love were the foundation of all relationships? What would that look like? In a romantic relationship, if we always treat the other person with love, and also love ourselves, it seems we would be able to work through just about anything. Though partners might decide they no longer want to be together, for whatever reason, that break can be much better for everyone if done with love. Friends can do the same thing. What about our jobs? If you don’t love your job, would it be a good idea to change jobs? Even if you do love your job, if you are not treated with love you might want to consider leaving.

Could our world leaders really go to war if they considered the love of others? Maybe different solutions could be found if war or embargos were not an option.

As COP26 enters its second week, can you imagine how different it might be if everyone loved our earth and all the people and animals it holds? A very different outcome could be a real possibility if we came at the challenges from a place of love.

All You Need is Love according to the Beatles. And some health experts agree we need love. There are 10 ways in which love improves your health 1) fewer doctor visits, 2) less depression and substance abuse, 3) lower blood pressure, 4) less anxiety, 5) natural pain control, 6) better stress management, 7) fewer colds, 8) faster healing, 9) longer life, 10) a happier life. I don’t think we can get those things from money. *

I am going to continue to love; how about you?

*This information comes from a reputable medical site as shown by the display of this image       

Money Makes the World Go Around: Is That What Makes Your World Go Around?

Money Makes the World Go Around, by Liza Minnelli. I remember hearing this song in the movie Cabaret. I enjoyed this song. I don’t remember if I believed it at the time. I now think that money making the world go around is what many people believe and value. Do you believe that? Is money one of your values?

Photo: porapak-apichodilok

I watched Greta Thunberg today, for a few minutes. Her comments were interesting, and I think her intentions are good. She commented on money taking priority over decreasing our negative practices leading to climate change. That caught my attention. I have often thought the same thing. I didn’t hear any suggestions from her, but we need to find practical ways to help our environment.

A bit later I got thinking ‘we are f—ed’. My husband asked why – my response was, ‘because we – humans – seem to put money ahead of everything’.

How much money do you really need? I need money for food, shelter, clothing, water, electricity, gas, sewer, transportation, health care, and education. I also want enough money to look after my dog. I might be missing something, but if I am maybe it is because I don’t need it.

I don’t need to be able to eat out, I don’t need such a big house. I have more clothing than I need. I could easily cut back on these things. I don’t need a tv, definitely not three. I don’t need to go on expensive vacations. I don’t need fancy clothing. What do you need? What do you want? What is important to you?

I want to have a healthy life. I want to be able to spend time with family and friends. I want to be able to help others. Gardening, making my own clothes, cooking, and baking more are all things I enjoy. I love the smell of my clothes when I bring them in from the clothesline. I want to be able to hang my clothes outside and not have them come in smelling of smoke from the forest and grass fires.

How many of our products are polluting the environment? Remember, it isn’t just the ‘weather and climate’ as in coal and methane gas, that are being affected by our activities. Our earth, the soil to grow food, and water are being polluted. Soil nutrients are being depleted. Yet it seems like every day I see something new on the tv (that I don’t need) being advertised and, it seems to me, many of these items are definitely going to pollute the environment in many ways; from the manufacturing process, to the use, and the disposal of these products.

Growing up, and not having a lot of money, I was taught to turn the lights out when leaving a room, electricity was expensive. We had a water meter so no running toilets, or leaky faucets, no running the water while brushing our teeth, and no long showers (we didn’t even have a shower). We don’t think about how much water and electricity cost, let alone what they are costing our environment. At what temperature do you keep your home? Do you have air conditioning, and at what temperature is it set? I remember hearing ‘don’t leave the door open, I’m not paying to heat the outdoors’. If you are cold, you can always put on an extra sweater, or wrap up in a blanket.

Do we have to go back to all the old ways? Not necessarily. I think we must look at those old ways and determine if some of them aren’t better than what we have now, whether it be for money or for the environment.

Money makes the world go around. Or is it love that makes the world go round? Watch for part 2 – Love Makes the World Go Around.

Our Heart: Pump, Emotions, Stress, Energy

Our Heart: Pump, Emotions, Stress, Energy

Just like our brain, we all have a heart. We know our heart acts like a pump to circulate blood throughout our body. We know that we can have heart attacks and other cardiac diseases.

Something many do not know is that the heart and brain communicate and that the heart communicates with the brain more than the brain communicates with the heart.

When you are feeling stressed, your heart is involved along with your brain. Our emotions influence our hearts and brains. The heart is an electrical system. This shouldn’t surprise you because the ECG (electrocardiograph) that traces our heart rhythm is tracing the electrical rhythm of our heart. The functioning of the brain can also be examined using an EEG (electroencephalograph), which measures the electrical functioning of the brain. Muscles are also measured electrically. We are made up of electrical energy.

Enough about the electricity for now. Next, a bit of information about how our heart and brain work together when we are experiencing stress.

What is stress and how do you know if you are experiencing stress? Definition of stress:

In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure). Stress can initiate the ‘fight or flight’ response, a complex reaction of neurological and endocrinologic systems.

Definition of stress:

Stress affects many areas of our body. Remember too, that all areas of the body are connected. We cannot separate our mind and mental health from our body and physical health. Our emotions affect our brain, mind, and mental health which in turn affect our body. Stress can lead to physical illness and physical illness can lead to stress. A bit of a vicious circle.

Researchers have discovered that our emotions are a result of our hearts and brains working together. Neurocardiology (a specialty of how the brain and heart interact) research has determined that the heart is a sensory organ. The heart can learn, remember, and make independent functional decisions that do not involve the cerebral cortex. (2003. McCraty, R. energetic-heart.pdf  Institute of HeartMath.)

Our emotions drain our energy. Think about it, when you have had a disagreement with someone, you will often feel tired and make poor decisions. Afterward, we are apt to say to ourselves (maybe even to others) ‘what was I thinking?

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.”
— Hans Selye

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/stress-and-heart-health

The HeartMath™ System (programs, techniques) includes methods of mental and emotional self-regulation and energy management techniques that lead to a restructure of neural (nervous system) circuits. The techniques assist in the alignment of our mental, emotional, and physical systems. All the techniques affect several areas of the brain: amygdala, hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and thalamus and improve the synchronization of the heart-brain, hormonal balance, the autonomic nervous system, and vagal pathways. Breathing is a vital component of the HeartMath™ systems. But HeartMath™ is much more than breathing. Remember, our heart and head are communicating with each other.

One of the goals of drelaineleadership.coach and HeartMath skills is to guide you to increased internal awareness. Everyone deserves to have a beautiful life that includes self-awareness and limited stress. You can be in control of your emotional responses.

Stress often leads to us adopting poor coping behaviours that can increase our risk of heart disease and stroke. Some poor coping behaviours include smoking, alcohol, drugs, overeating, absence of physical activity, unhealthy diet. Being overweight, and not taking your prescribed medications as per your doctor’s instructions are also symptoms of stress.

Stress can show up in your body as a headache, back strain, painfully tight shoulder muscles, and stomach pain. Other things that stress can do to you include zapping your energy, create sleep problems, and adding to crankiness, forgetfulness, and not being as in control of yourself as you would like. A chain reaction begins:

Stress > release of adrenalin and cortisol > increased heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure

You are prepared to fight or flee even though there is no physical danger, no lions, or tigers, or bears.

There is a large body of information and research about stress and ways to manage our emotions. I will continue to share information about stress, emotions, the heart-brain connection and how to take control of your emotional reactions in future blogs. But just a little bit at a time.

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

Who needs emotional intelligence (EI or EQ)? My answer is everyone. In fact, I think it is something that should be taught throughout school. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a stand-alone course, though it certainly could be. EI could definitely be included in courses for communication, psychology, sociology, and definitely be a part of nursing and medical curricula. How can anyone effectively work with people and not have stellar EI.

Daniel Goleman’s theory of EQ is as follows:

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.”

Goleman also states that “Great leadership works through the emotions.”

(Goleman, Boyatzyis, & McKee. Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. 2013 )

What is the process for learning about EI? As with many things, it starts with self; Self-awareness and Self-management followed by Social Awareness and Relationship management.

I found a test online that can help you discover your EI and begin your journey. This test only gives you an idea of where you are, and it is not the full test. I encourage you to check this one or another one out.

Note that the first item of EI is Self-awareness. This is straight -forward, if you aren’t aware of your emotions, you won’t be able to change how you respond in various situations. Once you are self-aware you are in a position to self-manage, I also refer to this as self-leadership. Self-awareness is the foundation of all of the rest. Becoming self-aware also helps you to develop Social Awareness. Having paid attention to yourself, your emotions, and your reactions in various situations, you will be more likely to be able to notice how others react or respond to a variety of emotional events. Empathy comes into play in this area: being aware of what others are experiencing. This doesn’t mean you want to respond to someone going through a traumatic event with “I know how you feel”. That isn’t empathy. Empathy is understanding where that person is coming from. You understand the pain, grief, and sadness being experienced. Developing these three areas naturally leads to Relationship management. Our lives are filled with relationships.

Why does this make a difference to anyone, or in this case, to leaders? I want my boss, coach, guide, or anyone in a leadership role to have these qualities; to be Emotionally Intelligent.

A leader with a high EQ would be likely to be much better at inspiring and leading teams. Hopefully, an EI leader will guide and assist in the development of the other leaders in the organization. There can be more than one leader. We all have different skills and abilities in which we can lead. A socially aware leader will know when to call on others.

You do not have to be a leader to become more EI, it is worthwhile for everyone. Synchronicity occurred today: I am once again taking part in a research study and one of the lessons today was about the brain – our caveman brain and our frontal cortex. These are the areas involved in our reactions. Too much to go into here. But watch for my next blog on our caveman brain and our frontal cortex.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay