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The Science on Heart Rhythms
One of the ways we know we’re in love is that we begin to experience behavioral synchrony. We might start finishing each other’s sentences or crave the same foods, activities, and desires.
This kind of synchrony extends to our heartbeats, too.
In a December 2021 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships researchers confirmed that heart rhythms synchronize when couples in long-term loving relationships are in close proximity to each other.
Previous studies have also demonstrated heart rate, along with breathing, synchrony between couples who are in love.
In one UC Davis study, the synchrony of 32 couples was evaluated while they did exercises like mimicking each other while sitting in close proximity. Researchers measured the synchronicity of couples together and then of random pairs of people. The study showed that there was a significantly greater connection with the ones we love than with strangers.
These research findings align with research from the HeartMath Institute that shows the most powerful electromagnetic field in the human body comes from the heart. It’s through these electromagnetic fields that we pick up on each other’s subtle and emotional energy.
The heart’s electrical field is 60 times greater than any electrical activity coming from the brain. The magnetic energy produced by the heart is a whopping 100 times greater than the magnetic energy produced in the brain. This electromagnetic energy radiates out three feet in all directions.
See also Ayurvedic Love Languages
Other Heart-to-Heart Connections
Our capacity to connect heart-to-heart actually starts when we are very young and we first experience a mother’s love. In a 2019 study published in the journal Developmental Psychology, a host of markers demonstrated physiological synchrony between mothers and infants. In 140 mothers and their six-month-old infants, both their parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, as well as heart rhythms and behaviors, were found to be in sync, especially when they were exposed to minor stressors.
Emerging research is finding that the coherence we see in couples who are in love is also present in certain forms of positive, safe, and uplifting social or group settings. So if you didn’t have a solid bond with your mother or have not found that special person to synchronize your heart rhythm with yet, you can totally get that good vibe feeling from the social coherence created by the healthy interactions of a group.
The Health Benefits of Heart Rhythm Synchronicity
In fact, studies suggest that social coherence and connectedness may be one of the most important aspects of public health. The risk of heart disease increases when people are lonely or missing social bonds—more so than the risks of being sedentary, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity combined.
These social bonds are priorities for longevity, according to Ayurveda and research on centenarians.
Studies that have looked at various populations from different geographical and cultural backgrounds have found that those who had close and meaningful relationships had reduced mortality, lower risk of infections, healthier pregnancies, and overall lived healthier and happier lives.
Studies also suggest that being in a bad relationship is associated with ill health, shorter lifespans, and increased inflammatory markers.
Pay It Forward
Social coherence not only helps individuals feel better, it can also help societies thrive. Studies suggest that feelings of cooperation, trust, compassion, and prosocial behavior can create and spread social coherence, as measured by the synchrony of heart rhythms among group members.
I think of this ripple effect as sattva, or the Ayurvedic concept of peace and contentment. More and more, we are seeing studies showing the power of sattva to foster health, happiness, and longevity. Whether we are synchronizing our heart rhythms with a partner, family member, friend, or social group, the more we give, the more we will get. In the matters of the heart, the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts, so don’t save your love for a rainy day—share it fully today and pay the benefits forward.