From the brain to the heart

invisible pathway

I was connected to the computer through a wire with a clamp attached to the tip of my index finger.   I thought about what I’m grateful for, particularly the unconditional love and companionship I feel from my furry little angels with four legs.

As I talked about my dogs the computer screen generated colors on several graphs.  Talking about them created intense colors of purple, violet, orange and blue.

The biofeedback therapist was enthusiastic about her work.  “Look!  Look how much the graphs change when you talk about your dogs!”

There was one column on the computer screen that detected activity in an, “invisible pathway” from the brain to the heart.  Talking about my dogs filled this column with a deep purple color.  

The therapist laughed and said she knew an invisible pathway sounded silly, but I didn’t care.  I’m interested in learning how to reduce physical pain and calm my spirit.  

I think the essence of biofeedback is about creating awareness of changes in the body when one is faced with stress and, changes when one actively chooses to calm the body, such as intentionally experiencing gratitude.

Outside of the sessions, I started to notice the changes in my body when I felt upset.   A rising heart rate, a familiar feeling in my gut that comes with anxiety, or the start of a negative thought pattern.  Being aware of the physical changes in my body help me to back up for a second.  It helps to see the changes before they get out of control, although I haven’t by any means mastered this practice.

Living with chronic illnesses means I need to lessen any stress that I can.  I may not be able to change circumstances, but I do have some control over how I respond to the stresses.  If I can slow down enough in a highly stressful situation to take slower breaths, then I can hopefully better choose my battles.

If I see myself falling quickly into depression, sometimes I’m able to think my way out of going too far down or staying down too long.

“You have to think grateful thoughts,” the biofeedback therapist told me.  “Positive thinking does not produce the same effects as does grateful thinking.”

I think of my dogs when I want an instant dose of gratitude.  Living with chronic illnesses has shaped my life in a way that isn’t always easy to accept.  Dogs offer an unconditional kind of love and understanding that’s like a golden elixir to my spirit.

Practicing gratitude helps me with depression.  It helps me to feel more accepting about things that I cannot control.  Feeling grateful helps me keep my chin up.

Thanks for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!

Image link:

http://commons.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Descartes-reflex.JPG

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on January 4, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    This is some very good teaching on gratefulness! thank you for this…

    Like

    Reply

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