Jay Cross
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Friday, September 30, 2005
JosephA group of us spent the better part of today learning about HeartMath from Joseph Sundram (left, showing where his heart is) and Regan Caruthers (below right).

My first brush with HeartMath was in the aisles of some training conference, and the sales people in the booth weren't adept at describing what they had; I figured it was more galvanic skin response hokum. When Regan raved about HeartMath, I figured it warranted another look; it did. ReganThe simple techniques we learned can put stress back in its cage. I could feel positive change during the workshop and plan to practice the technique for a while.

HeartMath is yet another topic for my research on Informal Learning. My definition of informal learning has grown to encompass all forms of human adaptation except genetic inheritance and formal instruction. If an intervention improves performance, I'll be generous defining its fit with informal learning. HeartMath improves performance by reducing worker stress and frustration, improving decision-making and emotional control, inhibiting knee-jerk reactions, and encouring holistic thinking.

Driving past the headquarters of Sun Microsystems en route to the workshop, I recalled how even in the days of lavish perks, Sun rejected programs such as HeartMath as being too personal. Admitting that feelings and emotions shape our lives was not in keeping with Sun's warrior culture. Of course, I could hardly disagree more. I'll take a group of grounded, balanced, content teammates over a bunch of frantic, burned out, hell-bent aggressors any day. I look at HeartMath as a worthwhile business tool, not touchy-feely fluff.

Emotions have not evolved a whole lot since we lived in caves. People do nutty, childish things. It is within our power to have childlike peak experiences instead. Some choice: stupidity or ecstacy. People naturally choose the former. The rate of depression has doubled every generation since the 20s. 73% of doctor visits are stress-related. Life is 44% more complicated today than in the sixties. We're stressed by time pressure, frustration with others, unresolved conficts, anxiety, and perfectionism.


The way out of the vicious circle of habitual stress is to push the freeze-frame button on your internal mind-movie at the first sign of it. Shift your focus from what's in your head to what's in your heart. Recall a previous peak moment. Whatever you do, don't get trapped watching replays of the stressful situation. Use Heart Intelligence to recalibrate your assumptions and reach a new normal where heart and head are in sync.

HeartMath provides compelling metaphors, research findings, and bio-feedback to build confidence in its message. Joseph and I hope to talk about how this has worked in the corporate sphere in the next week or two.

And my book? Here's a sliver of what I have in mind:



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jay,

I wrote an article on Heartmath for T+D mag a while back.

Check it out at http://www.heartmath.com/company/proom/articles/td_magazine.pdf.


Eva Kaplan-Leiserson
Associate Editor

2:57 PM  
Blogger Bill Daul said...


You have one of the best and most interesting BLOGs I have come across in my "sheltered" life.

The HeartMath discussion was certainly eye (or heart) opening for me.

I also know you met with Joseph today (Oct. 21st). I hope you ended up with more insights that I look forward to reading here at the WateringBLOG. :-).

--bill daul

11:33 PM  

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