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Learn practical solutions for expanding heart connections, accelerating personal growth and transforming stress into greater energy, better health and a more fulfilling life.

Making Life’s Deepest Connection

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Making Life’s Deepest Connection

When a grandmother opens the door and is surprised to find her grandkids standing on her doorstep, all eyes fill with love and light. It reminds us of the timeless, heartfelt connections possible in human relationships.

When human beings connect in this way, it is a form of what is called social coherence, one of the deepest resonate emotions we can feel.

There are times in each of our lives when we are likely to experience such strong, unconditional connections. It may happen with loved ones, friends or in a meeting at which everyone shares similar interests and objectives. When people, especially groups of people are able to get in sync, or on the same wavelength, everyone who is present feels it.

Sometimes social coherence manifests simply as a strong bond or sense of connection. Other times it is characterized by an unmistakable pulse that travels through each member of a group, small or large. The unspoken message that circulates is a sense or knowing that their connection is special and with uplifting benefits.

Perhaps, for example, you or someone you know is part of a family that gets along fabulously, whose disagreements are resolved quickly and arguments are friendly, respectful and rare. Or, ever watched an athletic competition in which one or both teams seem to be on fire? How about co-workers who gel with one another in pursuit of a long desired goal or the completion of a critical project?

The emotions triggered by such levels of coherence can be indelibly stamped upon our hearts and minds. Recalling them anytime can brighten a day or inspire a wave of creativity and achievement.

The Art of Social Coherence

“Social coherence,” the authors of HeartMath’s recently published book, Heart Intelligence, “relates to pairs, family units, groups, or larger organizations in which a network of relationships exists among individuals who share common interests and objectives.

“(It is) a stable, harmonious alignment of relationships that allows for the efficient flow and utilization of energy and communication required for optimal collective cohesion and action. … There is freedom for the individual members to do their part and thrive while maintaining cohesion and resonance within the group’s intent and goals.”

Two key elements of social coherence among group or team members, writes HeartMath LLC Executive Vice President Howard Martin, are that “group members be attuned and emotionally aligned and that the group’s energy is regulated by care, not by threat or force from others.”

The Growing Need for Social Coherence

Recognition of the importance of social coherence has increased across societies around the world in recent years thanks partly to the growing sophistication of global communications, but also to the elevation of global consciousness.

That awareness has reached people in the most remote parts of the world, so that now much of our planet has become aware of our most dire problems and the critical necessity for solutions.

The point is, the need for greater coherence and cooperation among individuals, groups and nations is as great today as it has ever been in human history. Discord and violence between people is on the rise. Worldwide poverty increases daily. Homelessness and massive refugeeism threaten the infrastructures and very fabric of nations. And global climate change portends horrendous calamities for all of humanity and the viability of our planet.

Social Incoherence in the Workplace

In 2012, 65 percent of Americans cited work as a top source of stress, according to the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America Survey. One of the top sources of workplace stress was lack of social support, and research has shown dealing with toxic people can drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs.

A high percentage of adults surveyed say stress, especially at work, can contribute to major illnesses such as heart disease, depression and obesity. Scientific studies have confirmed for decades this is true.

“While awareness about the impact stress can have on emotional and physical health seems to be present,” according to HeartMath’s Science of the Heart, “many working Americans continue to report symptoms of stress, with 42% reporting irritability or anger, 37% fatigue, 35% a lack of interest, motivation or energy, 32% headaches and 24% upset.

Workplace stress contributes to higher health-care costs and lower productivity across the United States. According to the American Institute of Stress, the annual toll on American industries is $300 billion. So, it is not hard to imagine that the costs are skyrocketing globally.

Personal Coherence – Then Social Coherence

Recall that a key characteristic of social or group coherence is stable and harmonious alignment of relationships. Alignment of an individual’s mental, emotional and physical systems also leads to the efficient flow and utilization of energy in the individual and indicates personal coherence.

“Through our continued research,” write HeartMath Institute Director Rollin McCraty and HeartMath founder Doc Childre, “we found that many beneficial things happen inside the body when we are in a more coherent state.”

More specifically, HeartMath calls this a heart-coherent state, or simply heart coherence. It is known to lead to synchronization of breathing rhythms and blood-pressure rhythms as well as brain rhythms and heart rhythms.

“Just being in this heart-coherent state for a couple of minutes has been found to lower mean blood pressure by an average of 10 points in people with high blood pressure,” McCraty and Childre explain in the article.

The heart-coherent state can:

  • Quiet the inner noise resulting from the normal stream of unregulated mental and emotional activity.
  • Give a greater sense of alignment, harmony and connection with the heart’s intuitive feelings and the environment.
  • Suggest that each member your group use the following HeartMath tool to increase heart coherence:

    Heart Coherence© Technique †

    1. Breathe and calm yourself in whatever ways you choose.

    2. Choose something you appreciate and radiate the feeling of appreciation to it for about 2 minutes.

    3. Breathe and instate the feeling of cooperation between your heart, mind and emotions.

    † This is an abbreviated version of the Heart Coherence Technique.

    As the heart coherence of a group’s individual members increases, the probability of group, or social coherence increases. Action on the group’s particular projects becomes more natural, fluid, insightful and inspired. These projects may include fundraising, serving the needy, finding a solution to a major problem in the community, increasing a company’s productivity, reducing health-care costs, etc.

    HeartMath has identified the following benefits from increasing social coherence:

  • More care, kindness and cooperation among individuals.
  • Better communication.
  • A boost in collective intuition.
  • Increased appreciation and acceptance of group members’ differences.
  • Shorter, yet more effective meeting times.
  • Decrease in social discord and adversarial interactions.
  • Increased creative discernment for finding solutions to difficult problems.
  • HeartMath Institute plans to launch a new program in the future aimed at researching social coherence. Thanks to a generous donor, HMI researchers will be able to lay the groundwork for developing p tools to assist various groups of people to unfold and enhance their social coherence skills. Eventually, these will include couples, families, classrooms, athletic teams, workplace teams, organizations and communities.

    We would love to hear your ideas and perspectives on increasing social coherence.

    • Derek Howie

      GOOD LIFE GROUP Bay Of Plenty New Zealand. Love It Love It. i Derek C Howie an Open Book On GOOGLE – TWITTER – FACEBOOK . We Partner Excellence Hence HUAWEI – SAP – AIR NEW ZEALAND. The Philosophy Is For The People and That Gives Us A Gracious Heart. This We Surely Need In Troubled Times . We Are The World Giving an Doing Whatever Is Asked Of Us . At Your Service D.C.H. take care out.

    • Derek Howie

      As AMBASSADOR For Excellence We Must Address Inequality an Employment .Hence HUAWEI an HOWIE The Philosophy Is Good. In Time We Will Be The Biggest Employers In A Cash Less Society. We Have Little This Surly Stimulates The Mint . Blessings To Sara an The Team At Heartmath take care D.C.H. out.

    • Janet Lesley Brown

      Google found that the most important factor in their teams is what they labeled Psychological Safety I would love to see you clarify the connection between Google’s findings and your work. I’m sure it’s there.

    • Lena

      This is also a question 1 have, because I have found NVC tremendously helpful and revolutionary in my own life. Ant therefore I feel it would be a great boost for the work of HMI, If they could include that method. It would be great, if HMI could comment on that.

    • Samir Helal

      Yesterday there was a soccer game in my country, Brazil, and the people went crazy because their team was champion for the first time in 24 years…I however, could not help but feeling sad about how much they value a title and how little they value human life. We have probably the largest slums in the planet and people still believe that people live in the slums because they deserve…How can a ball bring some much social coherence and human well being not?? Is it possible that this coherence you are talking about is only possible if there is mutual self interest involved??

    • Jeanne von Lindern

      I have been practicing heart coherence sense I first read about it here and when
      Gregg Braden explained it,,, this past thanksgiving I was driving in the country to my sons, being grateful for the pretty day I decided to do the coherence practice , breathing through my heart and feeling so much love, the thought came to me to send this energy to the person in the car ahead of me that had been swerving all over the highway between the lines,,, when I did this ,,, the car stopped swerving and drove straight! this I’m sure was a direct effect to the energy I sent!
      later after I shared this in church with a guided meditation and doing the heart coherence ,, a member of the church asked me to help him with a very bad back ach… so each night before going to sleep and sometimes during the day I would send this energy to him,, weeks later he told me that what ever I was doing was helping because his back is a lot better ,I reminded him I was doing the heart coherence