The Power of Emotion

by Howard Martin, HeartMath LLC

Think about this. What would it be like if you somehow managed to climb to the top of a beautiful mountain but couldn't feel the exhilarating rush of excitement? What if you spent time with family or close friends, but couldn't feel the love between you?

Our emotions are such a natural part of our existence that we take them for granted. They allow us to experience the textures and colors of life. Without them, we can still climb a mountain and spend time with our family and friends, but what's the point? Emotion gives meaning to our lives.

The power of emotion is amazing. Emotions drive many of our decisions and actions, for better or worse. They build energy assets to add to our quality of life or create energy deficits that rob us of vitality. During the course of any day, we experience an emotional adventure or in some cases, a roller coaster ride.

Emotions are complex, which is why they are often difficult to understand. They come and go very quickly in an almost endless stream of overt and subtle forms. Depending on circumstance we can feel many different emotions in just a few short minutes.

Here's an example. You're at a social gathering and someone compliments you about how great you look. You feel up-lifted and buoyant. Then, as you are scanning the room to see who you know, you catch a glimpse of someone you've had a conflict with. You instantly feel uncomfortable and resentful. Next, you engage in a conversation with a neighbor who tells you a friend is very sick. You feel shocked by this news and sink into a feeling of sadness. As you are reflecting on this bad news an old friend comes up and gives you a big hug! Your emotions quickly shift from the sadness to excitement and joy.

All of these emotions from sadness to joy, resentment to excitement, have taken place in a matter of minutes, each one coloring perception, adding or subtracting from the quality of the moment.

This example illustrates both the good news and bad news about the power of emotion. The good news is that we are able to experience a complex array of feelings, which give us an extraordinary way to relate to life. The bad news is that we are often at the mercy of our emotions, experiencing them as reactions to external events rather than conscious choices. As a result most people live on an emotional roller coaster. If we're going to have balanced, enjoyable lives we need to focus more on learning how to consciously adjust our emotions. It's not just a good thing to do. It's essential in this era of high-speed change.

In regards to business success emotion plays an essential role. We've done many case studies in organizations measuring the effectiveness of HeartMath techniques and technology on business performance. The statistical results taken from these studies show that productivity increases dramatically when a people are operating with lower levels of negative emotions related to anxiety and depression.

Additionally, we've seen that when more care, appreciation and especially non-judgment are prevalent the organizations' health and productivity increases substantially. In essence, communication, teamwork and creativity are enhanced when people are operating in the business environment with greater emotional management.

Our work at HeartMath is focused on improving performance in all areas of life. We've taken an innovative approach to achieving new levels of performance-one that is not born from the mind alone but rather from the heart. Improving the physiological communication taking place between the heart and the brain holds an important key to living from the emotional qualities associated with "heart"-emotions that have a direct impact on how well we perform.

Through our scientifically validated techniques and technology we provide effective ways to improve heart/brain communication which results in the ability to access and sustain the emotions that increase performance.

In business, learning how to use the power of the heart to regulate emotions offers a definitive, competitive advantage. It allows us to remain resilient and to handle success and failure with grace. It opens the door for new creativity and innovation. It gives us a greater sense of mental clarity and problem solving skills. Lastly, it allows us to connect with our customers and colleagues in a more meaningful way.

Business success is not just defined by money but rather by the overall fulfillment it brings. Learning how to harness the amazing power of emotion is key to attaining our goals and enjoying them to the fullest.

Emotions don't have to be a mystery and looking at them does not have to be an uncomfortable process. With a little courage, which comes from the heart, you can embark on an adventure-the exploration of the power of emotion. Add some genuine effort, which also comes from the heart, to replacing less desirable emotions with ones that serve you and business results will start to improve quickly in very tangible ways.

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