Do you Feel like a Finely Tuned Orchestra or an out-of-tune bunch of instruments playing?
The dictionary definition of dissonance is “lack of harmony” usually as it relates to music or a “tension or a clash”. Resonance, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult to easily explain. But it comes from the Latin word to “resound” or sound out together. In terms of your emotions and health, being in a resonant state is a good thing because it means your body is like a finely tuned orchestra instead of a group of clashing instruments playing out of tune.
It is hard to stay in a resonant state in a dissonant world. But you can learn to manage your emotions and health no matter what you are witnessing or living. Let me give you a few examples from my own life that might illustrate this point. Maybe you can relate to some of these circumstances or have examples of your own.
Can You Relate to Any of These Dissonant Situations?
Some dissonance is easily diffused simply with awareness and a smile
Walking through my neighborhood, we said hello to another family and chat about children. When out of the blue, the father expresses to us that we should be afraid to let our son move up to NYC because he will be in danger with riots. I smiled and said we feel he can handle himself and left it at that. I was able to release the dissonance that was being created by this unexpected, uncomfortable encounter, however, it did upset my husband most of the day.
A bit more challenging dissonant situation
We were driving to Tampa and running late to meet our son. The traffic was getting worse and worse. I was the navigator and missed pointing out the right exit to Mark, and then we were stopped completely in traffic. I could feel both of our discomfort, and I knew that I needed to take action to first calm my own dissonance of being late. And then to not project this dissonance onto my husband who was doing his best. This time, I used my Heart Focused breathing to turn the dissonance into resonance. I breathed deeply into my heart and did not start tapping my foot as I often do when I was trying to take control. My husband seemed to relax with me letting go of the need to be on time and our visit turned out great.
Even more challenging dissonant situation
I posted a picture of myself with a mask on getting my second vaccine just to share the process I went through in coming to my decision to get a shot. I carefully worded my post to acknowledge that I do not judge anyone who makes a different decision and explained why I decided to get vaccinated even because most people know how adverse I am to many pharmaceutical solutions. For the first day, I received lots of people just liking my post and giving their own stories of what was working for them (either way). This was my aim—to create a safe place to share without preaching or judging. But then a question from one reader prompted another reader to get riled up and respond in a negative way.
As I realized what was occurring due to what I had hoped would be a beneficial share, I could feel dissonance. I made a request directly to the person who was using my Facebook feed to promote an agenda that felt polarizing, but to no avail. So, after practicing another HeartMath® technique called Freeze Frame, I removed the post completely. What an example of how challenging it can be to stay in resonance in the face of so much dissonance in our current state of polarization in the world. At this moment, I realized I needed to keep working on myself.
Having Strong Feelings Does Not Have to Lead to Anger, It Can Lead to Love!
When I work with my clients, I often ask the following question. Is there a more efficient or effective way to be true to yourself, feel renewing emotions, and still be able to express your feelings without it feeling so dissonant to yourself or others? In other words, how can you keep your own system in a resonant or coherent state especially when you care about an issue deeply and want to impact the world? Here is how one of my dear friends and client converted her anger about issues into a deeply resonant way of impacting the world that keeps her feeling good while contributing.
“My husband and I were fortunate to attend an event where they held a live auction and we bid and won the bid on a great gift. We won meals for 100 people from a well-known restaurant’s food truck. We instantly thought of the youth pastor from our church who had grown up in a poor community that had been riddled with crime. So my husband and I reached out to him and offered to provide these meals to as many at-risk young people from that community to come to the church.” The couple is deep in planning the event and as my friend told me that while this is a small gesture, it feels good and it is her way of trying to dispel the negativity that she had recently felt so overwhelmed by and did not know how to express without anger.
Amazing Things Can Happen When We Add Positive Emotions to a Simple Breathing Practice
Click here for a short recording of a practice that I use to turn dissonance into resonance for my health. It takes less than 3 minutes but is highly effective.
Here is more of the science behind getting yourself into a resonant frequency through Heart/Brain coherence. “When the cardiovascular system is operating in the coherence mode, it is essentially oscillating at its resonant frequency; this is reflected in the distinctive high-amplitude peak in the HRV power spectrum around 0.1 Hz. In humans and in many animals, the resonant frequency of the system is approximately 0.1 Hz, which is equivalent to a 10-second rhythm. The system naturally oscillates at its resonant frequency when an individual is actively feeling sustained positive emotions such as appreciation, compassion, or love, (McCraty et al., 1995) So there you have it— the art and the science of turning your body into a finely tuned orchestra!
These and other HeartMath practices are simple tools, that if practiced daily, can improve your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual resilience, tap into your heart’s intuition, calm your nervous system down, improve your health and contribute to planetary health. Lastly, anyone can do them! Find out more here.