Physiological Coherence And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The term coherence lies at the heart of how we operate at Conquering Fatigue Successfully. Coherence always implies correlations, connectedness, consistency and efficient energy utilisation. Physiological coherence and chronic fatigue syndrome are polar opposites then.
Many of us know how it feels to be in a harmonious state. Some may call it being in ‘the zone’ or the state of ‘flow’, which is a fascinating concept in its own right. When we are in this state, we feel connected not only to our deepest selves but to others – past, present, and future – and to all living plants and creatures and even to the cosmos itself. We call this state of internal and external connectedness ‘coherence’.
Increased personal coherence can be achieved as people learn to more consistently self-regulate their emotions from an intuitive, intelligent, and balanced inner reference.
The universe is wholly and enduringly interconnected and coherent…. Thus, every whole has a relationship with and is a part of a greater whole, which is again part of something greater. In this context, nothing can be considered as separate, alone, or lacking relationships
Many are intuitively aware of the interconnections between our thoughts, emotions, and physical processes. There is abundant evidence that emotions alter the activity of the body’s physiological systems and that beyond their pleasant subjective feeling, heartfelt positive emotions and attitudes provide a number of benefits that enhance physiological, psychological, and social functioning. As coherence tends to naturally emerge with the activation of heartfelt, positive emotions such as appreciation, compassion, care, and love, it suggests that such feelings increase the coherence and harmony in our energetic systems which are the primary drivers of our physiological systems.
The heart has its own independent nervous system. There are at least 40,000 neutrons in the heart. The signals that are sent from the heart to the brain affect many areas and functions in the amygdala, the thalamus and the cortex.
The amygdala is found deep inside the emotional processing system. The cortex is where learning and reasoning occur.
Heart intelligence is the intelligent flow of awareness and insight that we experience once the mind and emotions are brought into balance and coherence through a self-initiated process. This form of intelligence is experienced as direct, intuitive knowing that manifests in thoughts and emotions that are beneficial for ourselves and others.
The Institute of HeartMath have concluded that “intelligence and intuition are heightened when we learn to listen more deeply to our own heart. It’s through learning how to decipher the messages we receive from our heart that we gain the keen perception needed to effectively manage our emotions in the midst of life’s situations and challenges. The more we learn to listen to and follow our heart intelligence, the more educated, balanced and coherent our emotions become.”
Messages from the heart influence a person’s behaviour
Emotional Intelligence Comes From Heart Intelligence
Mayer and Salovey’s definition of emotional intelligence includes five domains:
- Knowing one’s emotions
- Managing one’s emotions
- Motivating oneself
- Recognising emotions in others
- Handling relationships
Bar-On summariases emotional intelligence as:
It is thought that the more emotionally intelligent individuals are those who are able to recognise and express their emotions, who possess positive self regard and are able to actualise their potential capacities and lead fairly happy lives; they are able to understand the way others feel and are capable of making and maintaining interpersonal relationships without become dependent on others; they are generally optimistic, flexible, realistic and family successful in solving problems and coping with stress without losing control
Emotional intelligence can be developed and increased throughout life, and this can be achieved through cultivating heart intelligence.
Coherence & Resiliency
coherence and resilience are closely related
Resilience (see our article on the key concepts we teach at Conquering Fatigue Successfully) is related to self-management and efficient utilisation of energy resources across four domains: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
- Physical resilience is basically reflected in physical flexibility, endurance, and strength
- Emotional resilience is reflected in one’s ability to self regulate the degree of emotional flexibility, positive emotions, and relationships.
- Mental resilience is reflected in our attention span, mental flexibility, an optimistic worldview, and ability to integrate multiple points of view.
- Spiritual resilience is typically associated with our commitment to core values, intuition, and tolerance of others’ values and beliefs.
When we are in a coherent state, the increased physiological efficiency and alignment of the mental and emotional systems accumulates resilience (energy) across all four energetic domains. Having a high level of resilience is important not only for recouping from challenging situations but for preventing unnecessary stress reactions (frustration, impatience, anxiety) that deplete our physical and psychological resources.
The practice of heart coherence offers increased ratios of access to the largely untapped potential for bringing our mental and emotional faculties into greater balance and self-directed control. Practicing shifting to a more coherent state increases intuitive awareness and leads to shifts in perception and world views from which better informed and more intelligent decisions can be made.
Establishing a New Baseline
Research has discussed how in certain chronic states, hypothyroidism (Leow and Goede, 2014) or chronic fatigue syndrome (Craddick et al., 2014), as just two examples, there can be a shift to a new baseline, or a new homeostatic set point.
Shifting a system back into a more coherent mode requires effort and energy, especially when we first become familiar with the state and overcoming the inertia of our well-established baseline modes. However, there is also evidence that the ongoing practice of coherence-building techniques facilitates a repatterning process in the neural architecture where coherence becomes established as new, stable baseline reference or norm. Self-regulation of emotions and stress responses then becomes increasingly familiar and, eventually, automatic.12,18,66 This makes it easier for individuals to maintain their “center,” which increases their mental and emotional flexibility and capacity to remain in charge of themselves, which is the essence of resilience. Such flexibility and resilience can dramatically reduce stress-related energy drains during day-to-day activities and interactions, even in the midst of more stressful or challenging situations.
In varied ways, we all strive to increase ease and flow in our lives and decrease the chaos within and around us.
Effectively dealing with stress and establishing a new baseline involves learning to recognise and consciously shift the ongoing emotional undercurrents (judgment, negative projection, insecurity, worry) that create incoherence and waste energy and learning to increasingly replace these feelings with more positive, regenerative attitudes and perceptions.
How We Use This In Our Programmes
We educate our clients on all of these concepts: heart intelligence, emotional intelligence, coherence, resiliency. We help our clients raise their level of self-awareness so they can tune in to their inner/higher intelligence and live to their true potential.
For more information don’t hesitate to contact us.
McCraty (2010) Coherence: Bridging Personal, Social, and Global Health, Alternative Therapes; 16:4