Self-regulating emotions in trauma treatment is quickly becoming a means to enable trauma victims to heal.When someone experiences a great emotional change, it affects the heart rhythm.
In the article Cardiac Coherence, Self-Regulation, Autonomic Stability, and Psychosocial Well-Being, HeartMath Institute Director of Research Rollin McCraty, Ph.D and researcher Maria A. Zayas, Ph.D state that self regulation of emotions, the conscious choice of what emotions we feel – is “intimately” connected to our physiology.
How does self-regulation of emotions affect healing from trauma? Briefly, when someone changes their emotions, their heart rhythm experiences a corresponding shift.
“This shift in the heart rhythm,” write McCraty and Zavas, “in turn plays an important role in facilitating higher cognitive functions, creating emotional stability and facilitating states of calm. Over time, this establishes a new inner-baseline reference, a type of implicit memory that organizes perception, feelings, and behavior.”
The importance of the new baseline is it changes the internal baseline in which the memory of a traumatic event is reactivated.
Jeff Goelitz is a stress solutions expert with the HeartMath Institute, , as well as author, education specialist and program developer. He has many years of experience teaching students about stress and emotions. Learn more about HeartMath’s Parenting Free Resources.