The Secrets of Your Second Brain

by Mayra Ruiz McPherson on December 9, 2011

Did you know your brain AND your heart combined power most of your decision making?

I recently attended a self-empowerment workshop session, hosted by The Women’s Network (affiliated with the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce) and led by licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Michael McCarty, PhD, CCAC-S of Heartspace Enterprises, LLC.

The session, entitled “Power Up: Aligning Your Heart and Brain for Optimal Performance,” was a topic of interest for me and clearly for many of the other professional women attending the seminar.

The primary focus of Dr. McCarty’s seminar was to showcase how the heart as an organ actually has an immense role to play when we make decisions for our businesses and our personal lives.

Before moving further into this topic, it’s important to approach this subject with a clear, objective mind. Those who may want to downplay the heart’s role in our decision-making process may want to revisit a few myths of the past which have since been dispelled, including:

  • The sun revolves around the Earth
  • The Earth is flat
  • We have a limited number of brain cells
  • The only way we can gather and interpret the world around us is through our five senses

And now here’s a new ‘myth’ to add to the list:

  • The primary function of the heart is to pump blood

There’s enough current research and findings, cites Dr. McCarty, to prove that our hearts do much more than merely pump blood throughout our bodies. “This premise was inspired by 19th century fascination with steam engines,” shares McCarty who believes many people today continue to misunderstand, ignore or dismiss the heart’s capabilities beyond its popular blood-pumping reputation.

In today’s new field of neuro-cardiology, research shows the following about the human heart:

  • The human heart is a sensory organ
  • The heart is the center for encoding and processing sophisticated information
  • It has an intrinsic nervous system called “the heart brain”
  • Its circuitry enables it to learn, remember and make functional decisions independent of the cranial brain

So how is this possible?

If you do the “heart math,” you’ll note that your heart beats 100,000 times a day, averaging to about 40 million times a year! It pumps two gallons of blood per minute and 100 gallons of blood an hour traveling the combined distance of approximately 60,000 miles of veins and arteries.

Beyond these fascinating blood-pumping facts is where it gets even more interesting: Between 60-65% of the cells in our hearts are neural cells which are identical to the ones found in your brain; they even function exactly the same way!

To that end, Dr. McCarty explains these neural cells within our hearts allow our hearts to actually store memory.  “Our experiences go to our hearts first, are “thought about” and then sent on to the brain for further processing.”

Without going into too much more detail about “heart intelligence,” the one thing most of the professional women attending walked away with was the notion that aligning the heart and brain is indeed essential for optimal performance and well being.

I found Dr. McCarty’s “heart intelligence” information to be highly intriguing, insightful and rather relevant to business decision making which often does have some impact to our stress levels. Stress levels, in turn, impact our hearts and mind. Moreover, many decisions in business do require more than just brain power, therefore, the heart — the epicenter of our emotion and feeling — and its involvement in our decision making process cannot be ignored.

This is surely not a mainstream topic so I welcome your thoughts and ideas on the matter…

PS  – For those wanting more information on Dr. McCarty and his practice, Heartspace Enterprises, you’ll need to be patient. He’s been slow to come on to the Internet and is not found on any social network. Moveover, he’s currently working on his practice web site and blog and will not be online for at least a few months.  I’ll provide his updated contact information here after his site launches.

Image courtesy of The Glowing North Stars .

Mayra Ruiz is founder of Ruiz McPherson Communications, a social media influence and digital marketing service based in historic Charles Town, West Virginia. With more than 15 years of hands-on marketing, communications and PR experience, Mayra leads her clients forward on all aspects of creative direction, online promotion and marketing communications with innovation, passion and gusto. When offline, Mayra enjoys “old fashioned” non-techy stuff like cooking, sewing and collecting vintage treasures from area antiques stores. She can be reached at www.twitter.com/mayraruiz orwww.twitter.com/ruizmcpherson (her marketing practice).

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