Love, Joy, Gratitude, and Wonder
by Dr Amy Chadwick
A wise woman shared these four words with me recently and in the ensuing months they have become a sort of mantra, guiding my thoughts, leading me into deeper meditation, running through my mind as I walk, play or work with increasing consciousness.
It is not uncommon to hear these words during the Holiday season, a time when many people feel an increased sense of joy and wonder. There is a reason why a Christmas, unfettered by the materialistic tendencies, brings a sparkle to people’s eyes no matter their age. Christmas and Solstice have always been times of celebrating love, joy, gratitude and wonder! Powerful things happen when an entire society embraces such profound words and feelings all at once.
These four words speak directly to our hearts. They are sacred to our heart energy. By cultivating these emotions on a regular basis we have the potential to alter our entire physiology for the better, and even effect those around us, changing our community, our nation, our world.
Current research is showing that the heart itself has its own intrinsic “nervous system,” its own “brain” that communicates with the brain via the nerves, hormones, pulses and electromagnetic messages. This heart-brain can sense, feel and respond to external and internal stimuli. The heart also sends messages to all of our other organ systems, putting it at the center of the communication network between our body, mind, emotions and spirit.
When we communicate positive emotions like love, joy, gratitude and wonder directly to the heart, we have the ability to positively affect our stress responses, our intellectual abilities, our immune system, our physical health, our digestion and our mental health. We develop patterns and ways of responding that repeat themselves over and over, leaving many of us frustrated and feeling as if we must obtain everything in life through struggle. However, we can change our emotional responses and therefore our physiological responses by shifting our attention from our mind to the area around the heart and generating a sincere positive feeling state such as love, joy, gratitude or wonder.
Though this is only the tip of this topic, we can begin practicing immediately. Today as you walk the dog, wash the dishes, sit in meditation, play a game with your family, cook dinner, read email or the myriad of other things that occupy our days; take a moment and focus on the space around your heart. Perhaps, place your hand on your heart to feel its beating and focus your attention there. Take 3-4 deep, even breaths and repeat one or all four of the words: Love, Joy, Wonder, Gratitude. Then, the next time you are feeling frustrated, angry, sad or lonely, do this exercise again. As it becomes more of a habit, you will begin to generate positive emotions from your powerful and beautiful heart center. The health-giving possibilities this could generate are endless.
Even more exciting is that the heart produces an electromagnetic field, the strongest field in the body, that wraps around every cell but also extends several feet outside our bodies in all directions. Research has shown that one person’s heart signal can affect another person’s brain waves within this electromagnetic field. The more in tune we become with our heart energy, the more in tune we become with this electromagnetic field and the more sensitive we become to these subtle signals communicated by those around us. We not only have the ability to positively affect our own health and well-being through true heart-centered emotion and action, but we also have the ability to affect those we love, those we interact with on a daily basis, our local community, and it expands from there. This might be one of the most treasure Christmas gifts we can share.
So, this holiday season, may your heart be filled to the brim with LOVE, JOY, GRATITUDE and WONDER!