Throughout history, cultures and religions have pointed towards the heart as being the seed of wisdom, love, and the key to unlock the good in life. We’ve always heard the age old advice to listen to our hearts, follow our hearts, and let our hearts guide us. As pleasant as this may all sound, most don’t have the faintest idea what this all actually means. Over the past several decades, a breakthrough organization called The Heartmath Institute have finally discovered the science behind heart intelligence. In this infographic, we share some of their most exciting findings, helping to clear the fog around this little understood topic. In doing so, you’ll realize that the wisdom contained within the heart can transform your life in a myriad of ways.
Heart Intelligence Throughout History
Egypt – The Egyptians believed the heart was the access point to emotions, memory, our soul and higher sources of knowledge. During mummification, the heart was one of the only organs not removed from the body.
Greece – Ancient Greece placed enormous value on the heart’s role in our lives. Greek philosophers such as Aristotle thought the mind was located in the heart, and was at the area of intelligence.
Mesopotamia – Ancient cultures such as Mesopotamians looked at the heart as the source of intelligence. They believed the heart was the primary organ which directed one’s decision making, emotions, and morality.
Heart Intelligence Throughout Religions
Christianity – One of the central themes of Christianity is that of love. The heart is mentioned several times in the bible as the door to discover love in one’s life. Countless depictions of Jesus show him pointing to his heart as the place of this wisdom.
Buddhism – One of the central themes in Buddhism is that of compassion, and ending our neighbor’s suffering. There are several heart centered breathing exercises the Buddhists use to develop compassion.
Hinduism – The Ramayana, one of the most famous Hindu texts, features the monkey servant Hanuman. One of the famous stories in the text is Hanuman tearing his chest open where the God Rama and his queen Sita are residing.
9 Heart Factoids
The heart starts beating in the unborn fetus before the brain has been formed.
There is constant two-way communication between the heart and brain.
The heart sends more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart.
The heart helps synchronize many systems in the body so that they can function in harmony with one another.
The heart signals sent to the brain especially affect centers involved in strategic thinking, reaction times, and self-regulation.
Your heart emits electromagnetic fields that change according to your emotions.
The heart has a system of neurons that have both short and long-term memory.
A mother’s brainwaves can synchronize to her baby’s heartbeats.
The human heart’s magnetic field can be measured up to several feet away from the body.
Heart Intelligence Explained
Electromagnetism – The heart radiates a magnetic field, which can be detected several feet outside the body. To prove this, researchers found that when electrodes were placed in a glass of water, the heartbeat of a nearby participant could be detected. Researchers later found that a person’s heartbeat could be detected in a nearby persons’s body and brain.
Emotional States – The Heartmath Institute found that our emotions are embedded into the magnetic field radiating from the heart. In their words “This communication system energetically connects us to others and helps explain how we can feel or sense another person’s presence or their emotional state, before having any cues from their body language or tone of voice.”
Heart to Heart Connection – Our hearts communicate to one another energetically. To study this, researchers hooked up Heart Rate Variability (HRV) devices to a 12 year old boy Josh, and his dog Mabel. As Josh entered the research room Mabel was staying in, they signaled Josh to radiate feelings of love towards his dog. Data showed that both their heart rates and heart rhythms began to beat in synchronicity, as Josh as a transfer of energy took place between the two. This same phenomena was shown with a mother to her baby, and happy couples sleeping together.
The Heart Brain – Neurocardiologists have discovered that the heart contains it own inherent nervous system called the “heart brain.” Containing over 40,000 neurons, it’s able to sense, process information, make decisions, and even hold short term and long term memory. It also creates and secretes various hormone and neurotransmitters that affects a wide range of functions in the body. One such hormone is oxytocin, typically referred to as the hormone which affects love and bonding.
Communication To Brain – The heart sends more information to the brain than vice versa. According to the Heartmath Institute… “the physical heart sends information to the brain and body through at least four different pathways: a neurological communication system (through ascending pathways in the autonomic nervous system); bio-physical communication (the pulse wave); biochemical messaging (the heart secretes a number of hormones); and, through the electromagnetic field created by the heart.”
Coherence – Coherence occurs when two or more of the body’s rhythmic systems become synchronized to the same frequency. This could include our breathing rhythms, heart rhythms, and activity between the heart and brain. Higher degrees of coherence are associated with increased emotional balance, stability, deep intuition, higher mental functioning, better memory, increased focus and lowered blood pressure.
Heart Rate Variability – One of the best ways we can measure heart coherence is by using Heart Rate Variability devices. Distinct from the heart rate which counts the number of times the heart beats in a minute (BPM), Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measures the variations in the time between each pair of heartbeats. In other words, HRV is the rhythm of our changing beat-to-beat heart rate. Positive emotions such as love, appreciation, and compassion are linked to a more coherent HRV pattern, while negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, anger, and fear are linked to a erratic, incoherent HRV pattern.
Heart Intuition – The Heartmath Institute have made exciting discoveries regarding the hearts role in intuition. In one of their studies, participants were told to press a button where a computer monitor would display a picture intended to produce a response of calm or arousal. The study showed both the heart and brain responded to the randomly selected picture before it was displayed. What’s even more exciting was the heart showed this response before the brain, suggesting the heart sent neural signals to the brain before the brain responded to the stimulus.
Developing Heart Intuition – In the study covered in the previous point, researchers found that when participants were in a heart coherent state before the experiment began, the signals sent from the heart sent to the brain were much stronger. This suggests that higher degrees of coherence, allows us to be more in touch with the intuitive information from the heart.
Proven Ways to Develop Greater Heart Intelligence
Heart Centered Breathing
Loving Kindness Meditation