Worse for you than stress and sorrow are negative emotions, which send damaging hormones through the body. Positive emotions send hormones that are associated with love and connection and make your body release #dopamine and #oxytocin, which, not only make you feel good but reduce levels of inflammation in the blood pressure and heart rate and can decrease the tendency for blood blots and other heart-related problems.
Barbara Fredrickson, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina, studies the effects on the body and our health when it comes to the ability to love positively. She states that it affects our overall health, including the heart. She says,” We can’t think of emotions as just sort of rolling around our minds and our skulls. They, by definition, are embodied states that change your #biochemistry, change the way our hearts react, change the distribution of blood flow”, she says,” Moments of connection matter in terms of contributing to our physical health.”
Fredrickson explains that this is due to the vagus, a cranial nerve that connects the brain to a variety of organs, including the heart. The activity, or tone, of the vagus nerve, can affect heart rate inflammation, glucose control, and our aptitude for feelings of connectedness. High vagal tone is linked to stronger emotional regulation and attention. People with a higher vagal tone have been shown to form more positive connections with others.
How does this happen? The vagus nerve activates tiny muscles that allow us to make contact with other people and reflect their facial expressions, making it better for social interaction and empathy. When doing this research, they measure people’s heart-rate variability, or HRV, which is the physiological phenomenon of variation in the time interval between heartbeats. It is measured by the variation in the beat-to-beat interval. People with more heart-rate variability feel more in tune with others. The HeartMath Institute is a good source for articles about increasing your HRV and many other resources. The HeartMath Solution researchers say that they have scientific evidence that proves that the heart sends us emotional and intuitive signals to help govern our lives. They state that even though the heart is in connection with the brain, it makes many of its own decisions, so “following our heart” has a new meaning.