Emotions: How They Drive Your Physiology

Any strong feelings (emotions) have a huge impact on your physiology. Emotions like anxiety, anger, frustration, irritation, hate, resentment, rage and others, are part of everyday life, but the consequences of these emotions can be harmful.


When high emotions like hate, anxiety or anger take over, you are not the same person as you were!  Why?


Emotions cause thousands of different biochemical changes in the human body, including changes in heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and digestion, changing your ability to think clearly and responsibly.


Now you know why people react irresponsibly when they are overwhelmed by emotions.


Yes, emotions run the show, but I want to be very clear:

This is not an excuse for a bad behaviour or wrongdoing, in any given situation. Each person is responsible for their emotions and behaviour, and there is no exception.


As you know, there is a connection between emotions and the nervous system. You feel emotions in your heart. The human heart is a complex, self-organized and intelligent system.

Every time you have a thought, your heart recognizes it.  Your heart has a brain in its own. 


Communicating through nerves, information is carried from the body to the brain and vice versa. The heart is connected with your brain and emotional system, and can directly impact the way the brain perceives and processes information.


The heart-brain connection is a two-way connection of many nerves, where each influences the other’s functioning.

The heart has its own nervous system, independently of the brain or nervous system.


 The brain “reads” and obey the signals from the heart. These signals can influence perception, emotional processing and higher cognitive functions. Actually, the heart has a very complex, intrinsic nervous system.  For many people it is an unknown fact that the heart is able to override the brain’s decisions and make its own decisions. This puts the heart in charge of emotions.


When you are over-stressed, the heart is going to stop stress from reaching dangerous limits. This ability of the heart is a part of the protective system built into the organism.


On the other hand, it’s a very well known fact that anger, or any other disturbing emotion, makes the heart’s rhythm very chaotic. Negative emotions lead to increased disorder in the heart’s rhythms and positive emotions create increased harmony and coherence in heart rhythms.


 Heart rhythms directly impact the physical and mental performance of the brain. The heart affects perception, awareness and intelligence.


The heart pumps blood, but also complex patterns of neurological, hormonal, and electromagnetic information to the brain.

The heart’s signals affect the brain centers involved in strategic thinking and reaction times.


Is this a bad thing? Well, it could be.

For the brain to work properly, the incoming information, e.g. heart rhythm, has to be synchronized in a harmonious way, not in a chaotic way.


If the incoming signals from the heart to the brain are not synchronized (e.g. because of the stress), the brain cannot think clearly. Yes, the brain is very sensitive to this incoming information.


Now, you have an explanation why it is that you can’t think clearly and effectively when you are overwhelmed with high emotions. The incoming information is not synchronized.


When everything is under control, you are in the state of coherence. The term ‘coherence’ has several related definitions, but here, by definition, coherence is a state in which the heart, the mind and emotions are operating in a synchronized way.


Next time, when you are “so mad at…” think about your heart-brain connection and coherence. Remember, your heart and your brain does not like chaos.