Dr. Margaret Nagib is a long time friend and one whose wisdom continually inspires me. I recently interviewed her on The Dad Whisperer, and after receiving such powerful feedback, I invited her to share her insights here so all of you can glean from her wisdom too. Enjoy! ~ Michelle
Have you ever stopped to notice how many phrases we use to refer to the one part of our body that generates our physical pulse: our heart?
You can ‘listen to your heart’ and ‘know your heart’, discern the ‘heart of a matter’ or have a ‘change of heart.’ You can be careful to ‘guard your heart,’ and avoid having it broken or stolen, but when you are with someone you love, you may ‘give your heart away.’
You can do something ‘to your heart’s content’ or ‘halfheartedly’ if you decide your ‘heart’s not in it.’ You can even ‘pour your heart out’ while having a ‘heart to heart’ talk. You may be known as a ‘heartthrob,’ a ‘sweetheart,' or a ‘cold-hearted heart-breaker’. You can ‘know by heart, ’‘lead from your heart,’ or make a fashion statement by ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve.’
All this to say, we believe our hearts to be more than a simple pump.
And the latest heart science backs this up. Research has shown the heart is the driving force of our biological system and is highly complex with a functional brain.
The ‘heart brain,’ as it is called, actually enables the heart to learn, remember, and make functional decisions independent of the brain’s cerebral cortex (which is the part of our brain with four specific lobes that are each responsible for processing different types of sensory information.)
It is fascinating to consider that the heart communicates information via electromagnetic signals to the brain and body that influence our behaviors and choices, as well as the way we process emotions.
The brain has an electromagnetic field of about an inch, but with our heart there is an even larger scope of impact with an electromagnetic field that releases five to twelve feet outside of our body while simultaneously permeating every one of our internal cells.
Unlike other organs in our body, the heart’s electromagnetic field is charged with emotion that it encodes and then sends throughout that field. The emotions that the heart radiates affects the social climate around us. We undeniably affect other people with what we send through this electromagnetic field.
What this means for you is that while you can’t read your daughter’s mind, you can read her heart!
The opposite also applies. She is a curious and sensitive creature who can pick up on the emotions you are experiencing.
Since our thoughts and emotions transmit outwardly via our heart’s electromagnetic field, you can have a powerful positive (or negative) affect on your daughter without saying a word or even being aware of it, even when you’re a distance away.
In addition to affecting the emotional climate within and around us, heart brain science has proven that when we focus on strong positive emotions, like love, this has powerfully positive effects on:
· emotional balance
· synchronization of multiple systems within the body
· increased parasympathetic activity (calming response)
· harmonious functioning
· physical health and vitality.
Both you and your daughter can experience the powerful positive affects that accumulate over time by learning to harness the power of positive emotion being sent throughout the body via its electromagnetic field.
A great way to address the connection between your physical heart and emotional health is through a simple focus and breathing exercise designed to increase what scientists call our “heart’s coherence.” When you engage in this exercise in as little as five minutes a day, the heart rhythm reaches a coherence state which is ideal for experiencing physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Try practicing these three easy steps to maximize the powerful benefits:
1. Heart focus: guide your attention to your heart.
2. Heart breathing: focus on your breath and imagine breathing in and out of your heart.
3. Heart feeling (This one is the most important!): while breathing, focus on something that evokes a positive emotion to re-experience it in the current moment. This involves focusing on or recalling a time when you felt a positive emotion like the feeling of loving someone or something, or the experience of feeling loved by someone else. The goal is to re-experience love in the current moment. This, combined with heart focus and heart breathing, can greatly improve your overall mental health and physical well-being.
This exercise will not only help you improve your own well-being, but when it is combined with the awareness that your state can positively affect others, you can begin to have an amazing and powerful affect on those around you.
Dads, your heart is your most powerful weapon. And when a father is connected with his heart, it influences everything he does. Let your daughter feel your love for her today as your heart brain leads the way…even from twelve feet away!
If you’d like to listen to Dr. Margaret talk more about this concept, you can listen to her interview with Dr. Michelle on The Dad Whisperer.
Dr. Margaret Nagib is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Wheaton, IL and specializes in spirituality, inner healing and treating eating disorders, trauma, addiction, self-injury and mood disorders. For over 20 years, she has provided individual, family and group therapy.
She is the author of Souls Like Stars: Renew Your Mind, Heal Your Heart, Unveil Your Shine, Sozo for Professional Counselors: Integrating Psychology and Inner Healing to Restore Individuals to Wholeness and Soul Making: A 12 week Group-Based Sozo Experience.