I recently committed to feeling for what wants to happen in my life rather than thinking about it. When something feels good, it is as if my heart expands. When something doesn’t feel good, my heart will retreat into its shell, like a hermit crab. The results have been profound. I have more focus in my business, and doors are opening to amazing things every day. One small but powerful example of this was when my phone rang the other day and I felt like answering it, which I almost never do when I don’t recognize the number. The person on the other end was a marketing consultant. I stopped rolling my eyes when he turned out to be named after an archangel, and it was’t a common name, like Michael. We had an initial meeting and I blurted out “I have always said if I could do anything, I would teach intuition.” I needed to remind myself of that, and since doing so, have been focusing my business efforts in that direction. I didn’t sign on for his marketing services, but I am grateful for this interaction. I am focused, energized, and having a ton of fun.
It has worked in my personal life as well. This is the “hindsight is 20/20” version of events. I was recently invited to an event and the idea of attending it turned my heart into a hermit crab. I thought I should feel bad about not going, even though I didn’t feel that way, and considered that some other people may be disappointed if I wasn’t there. I thought perhaps I could change my beliefs to make it feel good, and then I came down with a wicked episode of left lower back pain. It wasn’t until I stopped being an emotional contortionist, attempting to make things feel good to me instead of honoring my heart. As soon as I re-declared “I am not going because it doesn’t feel good to me, and I am not responsible for anyone else’s feelings except my own” my back pain stopped within an hour, and I was moving easily and freely through my day.
Here are five evidence-based reasons to make heart-centered decisions.
- You have more neural connections that transmit from your heart up to your brain, than from your brain down to your heart.
- There are special neural connections between your prefontal cortex and your heart, called spindle neurons. They synthesize and integrate emotions, feelings, and behaviors, providing us with a GPS system, that can guide us toward good decisions and away from bad ones – if we listen to it. In the business world, these connections can be maximized for innovation. Most of us have had a boss that crushed them, at least once.
- Your heart is an endocrine gland. It secretes as much oxytocin as your brain. Heart-centered approaches such as HeartMath have been shown to increase oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is well-known as the hormone that makes us feel connected. It also sharpens your ability to identify the boundaries and differences between yourself and others. It makes you see others more positively.
- We are hardwired for heart-centered living. Native Americans and other traditional cultures have long histories of making heart-centered decisions. Before there were a million distractions every minute, this is part of how humans felt out threats, found food, navigated the seas, and decided what plants to use for medicine. There are some great books on this. My favorite is Martha Beck’s Finding Your Way in a Wild New World.
- It FEELS awesome! The heart is the intersection of the physical and non-physical worlds. Intersection is an oversimplification of the energy dynamic here, but it is easy to visualize. In terms of auric fields, the heart is considered the equator. In the 7 chakra model, the heart is the middle chakra, with 3 above and 3 below. We integrate our mind, body, and spirit in our hearts. We experience the extremes of life in our hearts, from falling in love to heartbreak. Our hearts are the sun around which the rest of us orbits.
Are you connected with your heart? Is it shining bright or is it in the middle of a storm? Do you use it in your decision making and business innovation?