Most organizations now accept that continuous change and transformation have become the norm in a global economy, while the pressure to deliver in this environment is having a major impact on business performance in addition to impairing the health of employees. Many organizations realize they have both a desire and responsibility to act. The issue for these companies is that there have been few interventions that can be objectively measured to make a positive impact and even fewer that can be sustained over time. In short, companies have struggled to find a solution to what has become a major obstacle to business performance in the 21st century. Numerous scientific studies have now shown that excessive pressure directly impacts the internal physiological processes of individuals. This impact upon the internal processes undermines performance, reduces perceptual clarity and directly impairs personal performance. Conversely, studies have demonstrated that peak performance can be achieved and sustained, and the underlying mechanisms are now well understood.
Evidence of Impact HeartMath interventions go beyond the theory of behavior management and have been shown to deliver measurable and sustainable improvements globally in personal performance, staff turnover, personal health and thereby organizational effectiveness. (See first Download section below for full Data in Improving Performance)
Table 1: Improvements in well-being before, six weeks and six months after intervention. All of the data outlined here have been generated through projects at Shell, BP, Unilever, Cisco, Boeing and others working closely with their medical and organizational development staff. (Percentage of individuals responding to the top two of five possible answers) Table 2: Improvements before and 6 months after intervention delivered at an international electronics corp.(See first Download section below for full HeartMath Data in Improving Performance)
Objective Data: Blood Pressure. High blood pressure affects one in four adults in North America and Western Europe and is considered one of the most important public health issues facing the industrialized world. HeartMath interventions have been shown consistently to reduce blood pressure. The size of this effect has been measured at double the improvement that an exercise program normally delivers and, if it were repeated across the entire population, it could reduce the incidence of stroke by approximately 50%. Table 3: Blood pressure data before and 3 months after intervention (sample size 78) (See first Download section below for full HeartMath Data in Improving Performance)
From HeartMath Communication, Sara Childre, email 12-10-2018:
Can you actually know or sense the immediate future? Can you do it apart from speculating about impending future events, making educated guesses or predicting things based on some prior knowledge or certain evidence?
We at HMI think you can, and we have scientific research to support our claim.
Although many people routinely rely on their intuition, they don’t commonly think of it as a tangible psychophysiological process. Often they refer to it as a "gut instinct," "hunch" or "just a feeling."
Over the years, the HeartMath Institute has conducted numerous studies, that in-fact show that human intuition is real and in some respects even measurable. More important, researchers say, you can increase your intuition.
In one of our studies, Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 1. The Surprising Role of the Heart, researchers said, "Overall, we have independently replicated and extended previous research documenting pre-stimulus responses. It appears that the heart is involved in the processing and decoding of intuitive information." Their conclusions were based on the results of experiments involving 26 people that were highly consistent with results of studies conducted previously by other researchers.
This and other research led the HeartMath Institute to theorize that the "feeling" you get about something that actually happens is you accessing "a field of energy into which information about future events is spectrally enfolded."
HeartMath Institute also has studied intuition over two decades. During that time, HMI’s scientists reached the conclusion we could learn to harness our intuition for greater creativity, effectiveness and success personally, professionally and socially.
HMI’s Intuition Section in its Research Library contains much information about the science of intuition, including Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 2. A System-Wide Process?. Key findings in this study were that the heart and brain appeared to receive and respond to intuitive information, and the heart received intuitive information before the brain. This helped to bolster previous findings that the heart plays a central role in our intuition.
I hope you will be as intrigued by the science of intuition as all of us at the institute and decide to further explore it in your journey of the heart.
With care, Sara Childre,
President, HeartMath Institute
Understanding the mechanics of stress gives you the advantage of being more aware of and sensitive to your own level of stress and knowing when and how to take proactive steps. This increased awareness also helps you to better care for your family, friends and colleagues.
Here are a few stress facts that many people are unaware of:
Fact #1: Your body doesn’t care if it’s a big stress or a little one.
The human body doesn’t discriminate between a BIG stress, or a little one. Regardless of the significance, stress affects the body in predictable ways. A typical stress reaction, which most of us experience dozens of times each day, begins with a cascade of 1,400 biochemical events in your body. If these reactions are left unchecked we age prematurely, our cognitive function is impaired, our energy is drained, and we are robbed of our effectiveness and clarity.
Fact #2: Stress can make smart people do stupid things.
Stress causes what brain researchers call “cortical inhibition.” The phenomenon of cortical inhibition helps to explain why smart people do dumb things. Simply said, stress inhibits a small part of your brain and you can’t function at your best. When we are in coherence – a state where we are cognitively sharp, emotionally calm, and we feel and think with enhanced clarity – the brain, heart and nervous system are working in harmony. This state of coherence facilitates our cognitive functioning – we are actually operating at peak performance mentally, emotionally and physically.
Fact #3: People can become numb to their stress.
We can be physiologically experiencing stress yet mentally numb to it because we’ve become so accustomed to it. Some have become so adapted to the daily pressures, irritations and annoyances of life that it starts to seem normal. Yet the small stresses accumulate quickly and we may not realize how much they’re impairing our mental and emotional clarity and our overall health until it shows up as a bad decision, an overreaction or an unwanted diagnosis at the doctor’s office.
Fact #4: We can control how we respond to stress.
We don’t need to be victims to our own emotions, thoughts and attitudes. We can control how we respond to stress and we can become more sensitive to stressful situations and how they are affecting us before it manifests as a physical, mental or emotional complaint. There are simple, scientifically validated solutions to stress that empower people to rewire their own stress response.
Fact #5: The best strategy is to handle stress in the moment.
The best way to manage stress is to deal with it the very moment you feel it come up. Millions of Americans unsuccessfully use the binge-and-purge approach when it comes to stress. They stress out all day, believing that they can wait until later to recover when they go to an evening yoga class, go to the gym or chill out when they take the weekend off. Unfortunately, when we put off going for our own inner balance our bodies have already activated the stress response and it’s our health that suffers.
HeartMath’s research shows how emotions change our heart rhythm patterns. Positive emotions create coherent heart rhythms, which look like rolling hills – it’s a smooth and ordered pattern. In contrast, negative emotions create chaotic, erratic patterns. Using a heart rhythm monitor, you can actually see your heart rhythms change in real time as you shift from stressful emotions like anger or anxiety to positive feelings like care or appreciation. Coherent heart rhythm patterns facilitate higher brain function, whereas negative emotions inhibit a person’s ability to think clearly. Coherent heart rhythms also create a feeling of solidity and security.
Trademarked information: HeartMath FAQ's from HMCT Stress InfoGraphic