Abstract and Keywords
Scientific research has established the existence of complex, highly sophisticated neural pathways that connect the human heart and brain, confirming that the activity of the heart directly influences the activity of higher brain centers involved in perceptual and cognitive processing and in the creation of emotional experience. This chapter examines research that has found that different emotions are reflected in state-specific patterns in the heart’s rhythms. Recent work has demonstrated a 75% accuracy in the detection of discrete emotional states from the heart rate variability (HRV) signal. As people experience sincere positive feelings, the more ordered information flowing from the heart to the brain facilitates cortical function and improves cognitive performance. These findings may help explain the significant shifts in broadened perception, increased mental clarity, and heightened intuitive awareness reported by many individuals when practicing heart-centered, positive emotion–refocusing and restructuring techniques.
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