The Power of Having an Open Heart
In this life and these times, we are all moving at a supernova speed. It is exciting, it is empowering; however, it can also be challenging. And for some reason, there never seems to be enough ‘time.’ We are moving so fast to stay on top of our goals and priorities that there’s a sense of urgency that appears to pervade most of our days.
During this clamoring, we often want to create more space for ourselves, but other’s needs–work, family, relationships, errands etc.–can take over, continuously placing us in a position of reaction and fire-fighting. We often find ourselves putting on hold all of what we consider most precious as we tackle the task in hand. If this feels familiar to you, and you have noticed how you numb out your own feelings to make way for someone else’s, or you continuously tell yourself a story that one day you will listen to what your heart is saying and make the time, or you are so tired and fatigued and want to make a change for yourself but it just seems so difficult to do so; then I would love to share some insights about the power of opening up to your heart and what it wants to share with you in your life–how it resonates with kindness, love, appreciation, and gratefulness–over and above anything else.
A large percentage of the population complains about tiredness and exhaustion and can lead up to 7 million doctor visits a year. Sometimes there is a medical cause, but lifestyle factors are the major culprits. Shifting into a new pattern of running and experiencing your life from a proactive place rather than the draining effects of reaction and putting out the fires can help you create more time and space to open the door to your heart through acts of gratitude and appreciation to yourself first and foremost, and then for others.
This shift creates a beautiful calm, peace, and balance in your life that spreads into the world around you. In turn, as you witness this internal shift about yourself, your outside world begins to change, and you will notice your capacity increases to ride the rough with the smooth. You discover kindness by being gentle with yourself (think how you would be kind and patient with a child) and a greater understanding capacity for others, rather than the reaction of being short-tempered (because you are over-tired) or intolerance for others’ lack of awareness.
Openheartedness doesn’t mean weakness. It is an honesty with yourself that builds empowerment and makes clarifying our intentions easier (causing less chaos and misunderstandings for others), leading to kindness, frankness, candidness, and benevolence.
How do you get to this open-heartedness connection that will benefit you personally reducing exhaustion, fatigue, stress, anger and plugging your energy drains? It isn’t difficult, and your heart will love you for it.
Studies by the Universities of Miami and California both proved that being in a continued state of appreciation and thankfulness builds longevity, improved heart health, increased optimism, fewer physical problems, decreased anxiety, sounder sleep, and an open-heartedness where its easier to find kindness in challenging situations.
Opening your heart to being openhearted takes a daily ritual of deep breathing until it becomes natural for you to do this and at the same time, to activate a genuine feeling of appreciation or thankfulness for someone or something in your life.
This proven method is one that I personally trained in with the Heartmath Institute and will help you build more coherence in your life enabling you to make easier decisions rather than have them create a low-grade anxiety for you, shift perspective and even communicate more effectively at work and with family.
The deep breathing aspect is super important because it affects your heart rate, your open-heartedness, and your heart’s rhythms have a direct impact on your brain and your mental performance. Your heart’s signals impact the brain’s ability to make decisions, reduce reaction times to stress, self-regulate and manage the flight or fight response and communicate more clearly.
You already have within you a profound state of ease and access to large-heartedness–feelings of love and joy–but sometimes it is easy to forget. To reconnect, all you need to do is breathe… activate a feeling of thankfulness. Practiced regularly, you will find your ease, resilience and coherence are going to grow exponentially, and you will love the feeling of fulfillment and happiness as you appreciate your world around you.
You always have choices. As Confucius, the Chinese Philosopher once said; ‘Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
Nicola Salter is an international Mentor, Holistic Care Practitioner, Heart Math Coach, Educator, Author. She is originally from London, England where she worked for well-known international corporations for 15 years, building and launching successful brands, organizing large corporate events and working with the media.
This essay was featured in the Nov. 18th edition of The Sunday Paper, Maria Shriver’s free weekly newsletter for people with passion and purpose. To get inspiring and informative content like this piece delivered straight to your inbox each Sunday morning, click here to subscribe.