As a classroom teacher for over 15 years, I have learned to “read a room.” Stage actors talk about this. It’s less accepted as teachers, but we experience this, too.
When a group of students are curious interested, open minded, I can feel it. When a group of students are fearful, anxious, angry, I can feel that too. If one student is angry and frustrated, it affects my senses and comfort level; it also affects the flow of the class.
I used to feel confused when I was having a good day personally but in class I felt so uncomfortable. Where are these feelings coming from? And, why can I pull off the same lesson with this group and not with another group?
But we now have scientific evidence that another’s positive or negative emotions can influence our own emotional wellbeing which in turn affects our ability to process information.
Research on Communicating in Energy
HeartMath Institute has done studies measuring the affect our positive emotions on our own and on on others’ “Heart Rate Variability”. I discuss this in my books and talks. HeartMath Institute discusses this in detail.
In a positive emotional state others around us are affected positively. The reverse is also true. Jen Ward writes about how we can learn to communicate in energy in her many books. Educator and scientist, Carla Hannaford, discusses how we influence each other with energy in her book, “The Unified Field.”
Two Classrooms, Two Talks, Two Different Energy Flows
I gave a presentation to two groups recently: one group was a mix of teachers and tutors from a local college. They wanted to learn how anxiety affects their work and learning.
The other group was a group of English teachers from the Middle East who were interested in coping with anxiety in the classroom. I spoke to them via Skype as they listened sitting around a table many miles away.
You might not expect a group of English teachers so far from me in culture and geography to be so open. But the moment I connected to them via Skype, I felt my heart relax. These teachers were so interested and positive about what I had to say. Despite challenging technical difficulties such as delay in video communication, as well including a different language and cultural barriers, we connected. The presentation was easy to give. I could go off script and did not feel resistance.
It was like talking to a dear friend who you know is hearing every word you say.
For an actor, on stage, it is like acting in front of an audience that is engaged. You FEEL it. The audience feeds you, and it is a circle of energy exchanged between actor and audience member. A good audience makes your job as an actor easy and rewarding.
The other meeting took place at a nearby school. This was a larger group of about thirty. There were several individuals who had read my book and were receptive and attentive.
As I got to my feet and started to give my talk, I fumbled a bit. Though the talk went well, and most were attentive, a few looked preoccupied staring down at notes or their phone; one older teacher never looked up from his Ipad.
I could feel some resistance with this group that I did not feel with the Middle Eastern group.
Shifting the Energy
After about 15 minutes speaking to the college group, I asked them to stand up and do some breathing exercises. Then I interrupted the presentation for questions. After speaking up and doing movement exercises together, I felt less resistance in the room and I was able to go off topic in my speech. The energy seemed to move in the room after I got people on their feet and asked people to get involved.
When the guard is up, the heart is often closed and the brain doesn’t work as well.
Heart and Emotions Influence Brain
One of the main ideas in my talk to both groups was that the heart and the heart rate variability (HRV) are influenced by positive emotions. The brain functions better with a happy heart or a coherent HRV. There are neurons in the heart and it is speaking to the brain via four pathways. This was old news for teachers from the Middle East. “Yes.” they nodded easily, “We know,” their eyes said. Then I remembered, this is written in their literature, their poetry of Hafiz and Rumi and others.
We know that here in the west too; it is in our science and our findings and our experience. But we forget. Or we give the brain all the credit when we need participation from the heart via positive emotions and positive energy.
All of life is energy. And everyone is interacting in energy. Every thought, every emotion is energy. We are beginning to see the impact of this in our lives.
Think about your own life. Think about when you feel most relaxed. When someone wants something from me, is angry in general, or is anxious themselves, I’m uncomfortable.
My anxiety level is a thermometer which measures the level of authenticity and kindness in a room. Closed hearts, angry controlling people, create anxiety in me, creates less learning, and less “energy” or flow moving through the room. The room begins to have this dead feel. Who wants to learn or work in this environment?
Keep posted for more on communicating in energy.
For more information, see my book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV944_S6fVY