A powerful way to improve mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being is to invoke and sustain sincere appreciation. Appreciating yourself, a loved one, friend, pet, even a cherished place or memory also quickly establishes a connection to your heart. The greater your capacity for sincere appreciation, the deeper the connection to your heart, where intuition and unlimited inspiration and possibilities reside. Try HeartMath’s Appreciation Tool and exercises.
Have you ever experienced a warmth in your heart area when someone appreciates you, or you express appreciation or gratitude for someone? That warm feeling is one of the many amazing properties of the powerful human emotion of appreciation. Appreciation connects you with your heart and can transform your attitudes about life.
Heart-focused, sincere, positive feeling states boost the immune system, while negative emotions can suppress the immune response for up to six hours. These actual heart-monitor readouts contrast the heart-rhythm pattern of someone experiencing frustration, then appreciation. The smooth heart rhythm, measured by heart-rate variability (HRV), is what scientists call a highly ordered or coherent pattern and is a sign of good health and emotional balance.
Breathe deeply but normally and feel as if your breath is coming in and going out through your heart area. Continue breathing with ease until you find a natural inner rhythm that feels comfortable.
Focus your attention on the area around your heart, the area in the center of your chest. If you prefer, the first couple of times you try it, place your hand over the center of your chest to help keep your attention in the heart area.
As you maintain your heart breathing and heart focus, activate a positive feeling. Recall a positive feeling, a time when you felt good inside, and try to re-experience the feeling. One of the easiest ways to generate a positive, heart-based feeling is to remember a special place you’ve been to or the love you feel for a close friend or family member or treasured pet. This is the most important step: How do you feel? Do you notice a greater sense of ease, well-being or relaxation?
Would you like to go even deeper? Try incorporating greater appreciation into your life in the following simple ways.
Take two or three appreciation breaks each day, ideally in early morning, at work or school, while returning home or before bed. Simply follow the steps above. It takes as little as two minutes to achieve mental, emotional and physical balance.
Make a list of things you appreciate such as people, places, activities and pets and choose one or two each morning to hold in your heart during the day. Choose one to hold in your heart throughout the night while you rest.
Keep your Appreciation List close by all day,¬ perhaps in a pocket or purse, at your desk or computer. In stressful moments, choose something from your list that can quickly evoke a feeling of appreciation: It can transform a long and stressful day into one that flows – amazingly in 30 seconds or less.