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Improving Relationships

The Meaning of Our Relationships

Our relationships with family, friends and lovers are among the greatest joys in life. With them we view our lives as more complete, find greater meaning to our existence and some of us write eloquent tracts of poetry and prose in praise of them. Studies show the emotional support we get from friends and loved ones in our relationships has a positive effect on our cardiovascular, hormonal and immune systems, can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and ultimately help us live longer. (See our Recommendations)

"Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw.
"I just wanted to be sure of you."

– Winnie-the-Pooh, 1926, A.A. Milne

When we lose or never experience loving and lasting relationships we see our lives as lacking and suffer – more than you may know. Research shows that regardless of age, culture or social status, people who lack close, meaningful relationships have a significantly higher risk of mortality, are more prone to disease and have lower survival rates after heart attacks. The effects on our health can be compared to high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise.

"Lack of human companionship, chronic loneliness, social isolation and the sudden loss of a loved one are among the leading causes of premature death in America."

– Dr. James Lynch, Noted Psychologist, Author and Researcher on the Effects of Loneliness

"Approximately 84% of Americans suffer emotional chaos, with men and women saying their three greatest sources of emotional chaos are their relationships with significant others, their children and people at the workplace."

– 2002 Harris Poll

Glen and Jenny

Glen and Jenny were at the end of their rope, still fighting after seven years of marriage about things they’d disagreed on from the first day. Their marriage was surely on the rocks and though they didn’t believe they could save it alone, they wanted to do something. As a last ditch effort, they sought the help of a psychologist, who, instead of relying on traditional intervention methods – having them face and confront each other, etc. – suggested a new approach.

In the first session, Glen and Jenny learned the steps of HeartMath’s Freeze-Frame® technique, including disengaging from their thoughts and feelings when they began to argue, shifting focus to their hearts and ultimately sustaining a change in perception and feeling. Within days the fighting began to dissipate and they could speak without arguing, and after a few weeks "they began re-experiencing moments of the love and appreciation they felt when they first were married." (See our Recommendations)


Improving Relationships: An Institute of HeartMath e-booklet and audio file that explores the relationships of our lives, looks at some of the key mistakes we make that cause them to fail and offers proven tools to help them succeed, including the art of leading with the heart – not going head over heels out of pure emotion, but from an intelligent, self-secure place within the heart, where wisdom, intuition and understanding reside and can teach us, beginning with ourselves, to foster deeper, longer-lasting relationships.

Love and Friendship

That very first moment of recognition, the one when we know that fondness has turned to love, that we’ve made a genuine friend for life or that we suddenly understand the meaning of "family is forever," is an occasion for celebration, one that can make us laugh or bring us to tears, sustain us through life’s trials and, at the end of the day, leave us content in the knowledge that we have a great fortune locked away somewhere deep in our hearts.

Perhaps you feel that a special love or friendship flourishes because each person is nonjudgmental, always willing to accept the other person for who he or she is. Maybe you think it is their kindness, compassion, caring or forgiveness toward you and others that are uppermost. Or you credit strong and lasting relationships to honest, open and respectful communication, something HeartMath calls "authentic communication." In fact, these are all elements of the mortar that holds together the foundations of our loves and friendships. They are qualities of the heart and relationship skills that are simply learned for those who are willing and immeasurably rewarding for those who practice and master them.

Also residing in your heart are wisdom, understanding and intuition – all waiting to guide you in building your relationships, including the most important one of all: The relationship between your heart and your mind. When you’ve molded this relationship, when you understand, forgive and love yourself in your heart and begin living your life authentically and with integrity in the world around you, then you’ll be ready for the arrival of that wondrous moment when two people make a connection.

"Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow."

– Swedish Proverb


A HeartMath Tip: HeartMath has found that a simple way to enhance relationships with partners, friends and family is to always observe the following three courtesies when speaking with another person.

(Adapted from HeartMath’s Authentic Communication™ technique, complete details of which can be found in the e-booklet Improving Relationships.)

  • Words: Listen closely to the words being spoken to you.
  • Feelings: Try to determine what feelings are behind these words.
  • Essence: Appreciate the listener and try to understand the real meaning of the words.

Benefits of Strong, Meaningful Relationships

  • Less susceptibility to disease, increased survival rate from heart attack
  • Longer, healthier life
  • Wake up with more positive outlook, hopefulness
  • Increased vitality, zest
  • Life has greater meaning, purpose, richness
  • Feel more connected to people


Tools For Improving Relationships

Researchers and scientists at the Institute of HeartMath have devoted many years to studying the human heart and the results of their work are profound: We now know that within the heart there resides great wisdom, intuition and intelligence. HeartMath has developed simple, straightforward and effective tools and techniques to teach you to harness the heart’s capacity to intelligently guide you in overcoming the stresses, disappointments and turmoil that confront us as we go through life.

  • emWave®2: Regular use of this entertaining and scientifically validated, heart-rate monitor helps you build resilience – a state of poise and readiness for effectively dealing with stressful feelings that can deplete your mental, emotional and physical systems. Easy to use and noninvasive, you can use it as a handheld or connect to your computer to review past sessions or play any of the resilience building games.

  • emWave® Desktop for Mac and PC: The emWave Desktop turns your computer into an advanced heart-rate monitor. When combined with HeartMath’s widely acclaimed resilience and coherence building techniques, you’ll soon learn how easily you can create an optimal state in which your heart, mind and emotions are more in-sync and balanced. In this balanced state, individuals tend to experience more energy, focus and mental clarity. With practice of the HeartMath System can help you begin feeling healthier and happier and start living life more fully.

    † Formerly known as Freeze-Framer®

  • Freeze-Frame®: Doc Childre, second edition, 1998. Here is an e-Book by the founder of the Institute of HeartMath that is packed with a wealth of information about using the intelligence of your heart brain in myriad ways to improve your mind, body, emotions and spirit. A special section called Empowering Relationships will teach you how to Freeze-Frame in those arguments where you can’t get a word in edgeways; when overcare in your relationship with a lover, friend or family member has drained you to the point of exhaustion; or when you are going through one of life’s great disappointments: a breakup with a lover, loss of a loved one, chronic loneliness.

(Note: Use the emWave2 or emWave Desktop for Mac and PC to help regulate your emotions in preparation for events you know may trigger your stress response and to help you recover from stressful episodes and get back on an even keel fast.)

Learn more…

  • The Electricity of Touch: Detection and Measurement of Cardiac Energy Exchange Between People: Ever shake hands, hug or accidentally brush up against a stranger or someone you know and get a special or "electric" feeling, sensation or chill? Researchers in this 1998 study wanted to know about the energy exchanged between two people when they touch or are in close proximity, how emotions such as sincere appreciation and caring and the field generated by the heart contribute to this energy exchange. Read the fascinating results and conclusions of their work.
  • Absence Makes the Heart Grow Weaker: It’s true, according to a University of Chicago researcher’s study. "Loneliness is bad for the heart. … Loneliness increases the blood pressure of those nearing retirement age to the same degree as smoking or a sedentary lifestyle." Read this and other thought-provoking stories about the human condition in the HeartMath Report.

Take me to the HeartMath Store now to learn more about IHM’s life-changing tools, training programs and other resources, or call us: (800) 711-6221.