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Thanksgiving has just passed. The season can be filled with feelings of joy, friendship, family, and gratitude. There are many ways to source those feelings and a few that are sure to work. One of these ways is through two techniques developed by our caring friends at HeartMath: Heart-Focused BreathingTM and Heart-Lock InTM. With a little time each day spent on these we can fill our world with gratitude and appreciation.
With heart-focused breathing we are not just expanding and filing our emotional hearts with breaths of appreciation, but our lungs as well. Each expansion gently stretches the muscles to give more space for gratitude for yourself, others, and the world around us. “You still breathe with your lungs … but HeartMath places great emphasis on the heart.” (HeartMath) Heart-focused breathing is when we direct our attention to our heart area and breathe more deeply than normal. Almost like in meditation, there is a rhythm of breathing in and releasing the breathe while imagining that breath going through the heart area of the chest. If it helps to place your hand over your heart, then we encourage your to do so in an effort to promote and develop your self-care experience. Each breath stage should be a smooth and comfortable 5-6 seconds in length. Even if your start with 3-4 seconds long, with practice your will get better and be able to establish a rhythm that is extended and smooth. Heart-focused breathing should not take a chunk of your day. It can be done in just a few minutes at any point of the day. If your feel stress, if your are doing yoga, or even before bed to release and appreciate the day and all it has brought forward.
The next tool is the heart-lock in technique. Rather than trying to fix something or set emotions off to the side, we suggest recognizing and appreciating the experiences at a deeper level. Try shifting your attention from your mind to focusing on your heart. We can do this by placing a hand on our temple or forehead, then moving it to our heart. This helps us to focus and as a reminder of the feelings of appreciation, love, and care for all that we have. Lastly, focus on a feeling of appreciation for someone or something positive for 5-15 minutes. As you hold onto that appreciation and gratitude, gently think about sending those feelings to yourself and others. This can be like a big mental hug, thank you note, or bouquet of emotional flowers.
These techniques can help you discover that you have your own internal resources of regeneration and appreciation. By quieting the mind and maintaining a caring connection with our hearts we can help share appreciation and caring thoughts to ourselves and others around the world. The more we can do this for ourselves and towards others, the more we can recognize gratitude and share our appreciation. This is a lot like creating the habit of a gratitude journal. Taking a short amount of time each day to remember all we have in our lives and our experiences.
Practice Makes Perfect
Like a gratitude journal, yoga, or learning to run a marathon, the saying “practice makes perfect” applies. Below are six steps that can help you build a habit through frequent practice that can help you listen to your intuition and share your appreciation.
There are many ways to share our gratitude and appreciation. The two techniques of heart-focused breathing & heart-lock in are some that you can do at any time, any place. They allow us the freedom to thank ourselves, our friends, family, coworkers, or even the person you pass on the street. With Thanksgiving happening on Thursday, it is a great time to reflect on all we have in the world.