Bet you didn’t know Your Heart Literally Talks to Your Brain

If you think your neck’s main function is to hold up your head you gotta read this!

“Given its distance from the brain, neuroscience hasn’t had much to do with the heart quietly thumping in your chest. But to get a fuller picture of the mind, you need to start looking below the neck.”

“These matters of the heart are University of Sussex researcher Sarah Garfinkel’s speciality.  Over the past several years, she’s found evidence that the beats of your heart — and your awareness of that rhythm — shapes everything from anxiety to racism to stock trading.”

“Every time the heart projects blood, it pings pressure-sensitive receptors that send signals to the head . . .The brain essentially flashes each time the heart beats,” she says, “and the degree of signal in the brain corresponds to how fast and how hard the heart is beating, so the brain is in dynamic, constant communication with the heart,” especially the amygdala and thalamus, regions associated with fear and pain perception, among other roles.”

“. . . your brain, but it also represents the activity of our organs, and whether you realize it or not, these sensations guide the way you navigate the world. Recognizing this marks a shift in how neuroscience could be approached, she says: Rather than separating the brain and the body, the brain is seen as embedded within the body. Doing so could offer new treatments for things like anxiety, where drugs could target bodily processes as well as those in the brain, or behavioral techniques like meditation that make people more bodily aware.

“I think the general public kind of knows it instinctively, they know if they exercise they feel better, they know their mood changes, their cognition and memory increases; people who meditate also see changes in their cognition and emotion,

“One of those primary somatic tools is interoception, or the felt sense of the activities of your organs. Garfinkel (and other neuroscientists and social psychologists) are finding that bodily sensations are key ingredients in emotional experiences, and that how fine-tuned of an internal “feeler” you are predicts your ability to stabilize them.”

Making decisions can be emotionally loaded — the decision feels right or good. 

More hopefully, heartbeat awareness looks to be trainable: Garfinkel says she has yet-to-be-published data suggesting that you can teach people to align their interoceptive self-confidence and their accuracy, reducing the unrecognized sensations and the anxiousness they promote . . .”

Source: To read how autism, negative racial stereotyping and how high interoceptive fluency can also help you make a lot of money  read the entire article: How Your Heart Talks to Your Brain

 

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2 thoughts on “Bet you didn’t know Your Heart Literally Talks to Your Brain

  1. Thank you for this fascinating set of observations and leading edge research, (in the Western world.) Some of this, as you say, is intuitively obvious at some level. Highlighting the direct relationship between the hearts pumping action and the flash in the brain is a particularly useful reminder that these systems are all totally connected and do not operate as distinct equipment in our body. What is interesting is that at this level of analysis you are touching on the relationship between the physical body/ sensors/ activities of the organs and how they interface with moods or brain signals.

    Additionally, the yoga/Buddhist practice of conceptualizing several koshas (the physical body, the energetic body and so on, suggests that while the organ biological interactivity with the brain is no doubt fascinating, it is still a Western limitation because the Chinese discovered five thousand years ago that the energetic body with its chi or what the Indians call the Nadi, all the energetic highways that interconnect with what is referred to as the chakras… all this energetic information ALSO impacts the brain.So organ level biological activities connect directly to brain behavior, mood etc, but SO does the energetic dimension.

    Practitioners of Chinese medicine have long looked down on the failure of Western medicine to address the interconnected system and medical schools tend to generate specialists focusing on specific organs, compared with Chinese medicine which is fundamentally about taking a wholistic approach.

    Ben

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    • Ben,
      Thank you for your informed response and taking the time to help educate us as that is one of the intents of our blog (the other, of course, to amuse ourselves). You are right on the money (an obviously Western saying).

      You’ve inspired us for another Post and with your permission use your response as a stepping stone (am I full of “turn of phrases” today . . . or what? – please don’t answer the “what” . . .)

      Couldn’t have said it better than you or the Chinese. I believe that everything and I do mean EVERYTHING is interconnected. When all humans realize – and act – on that knowledge my belief is that this world will be free of disease, peaceful and all will live physically, intellectually and spiritually in harmony. East and West are simply designations – we are all one from the same stock as the cosmos.

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