Does your heart have its own mind?
Expressions such as “think with your heart” were always perceived as nothing more than a poetic metaphor, but recent studies showed that it can actually be not too far from the truth. Can our heart “think” biologically like our brain does?
Professor David Patterson, Ph. D at Oxford University has dedicated his research towards studying the elusive mechanisms that connect our brain and heart. His findings show that brain is not the only source of emotions, and can work together with your heart to produce them.
Our heart has neurons that are similar to those in our brain and they are connected together, creating coherent emotional system. It may seem that there is nothing new in this statement – our heart just follows what the brain tells it to do, but in reality things are far more complicated.
A complex network of thousands of neurons that are clustered on your heart surface – why it’s there? We all know that neurons are what create our thoughts, so what purpose do they have in our heart? This is still the unknown area of science but one thing is clear – these neurons are communicating with your brain neurons back and forth.
We all have experienced heartthrob while feeling fear, excitement, anger, flutter or being in love. And we used to think our thoughts are responsible for that fast heartbeat, but in reality it’s our heart neurons that decide the behavior of our heart, not the brain.
However heart is not completely independent from your brain when it comes to the feelings. The connection between them is like a marriage – brain does not own the heart or tell it what to do, but they rather work together inseparable and depend on each other.
Different studies on how our brain areas, that are responsible for fear, joy, excitement and other emotions interpret signals that heart is sending them show that our pump is not just an inanimate machine, but rather a living organ with its emotions and feelings. So next time you say to someone “I love you with all my heart” you’ll know that you’re speaking the actual truth.