Our bad habits can often prevent us from fulfilling our full potential, but they can be very hard to break or change. Amanda A. Carpenter, a Foundational Health Coach, a Transformational Leadership Coach, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and a HearthMath practitioner, with 20+ years of experience working in the health care field, helps people do it. She was kind enough to sit down with us and discuss her work in an exclusive interview for MysticMag.
Can you tell our readers what HeartMath represents?
HeartMath was founded by Doc Childre in 1991. He started a non-profit called the HeartMath Institute, and his vision was to provide tools that connect us with “the heart of who we truly are.” HeartMath’s mission is to co-create a kinder, more compassionate world by conducting interconnectivity research and providing heart-based, science-proven tools for raising humanity’s baseline consciousness from separation and discord to compassionate care and cooperation. There’s a tremendous amount of science behind the interconnectivity of the hearts and behind the way we as human beings and as animals interconnect. The vision behind HeartMath is a kinder, heart-centered world where we care for one another and live harmoniously in peace.
What sparked your interest in this field?
I’m a Doctor of Physical Therapy and have worked in the field of human performance for 23 years. However, in 2014, after losing my own health and hitting a point of burnout, I began to look beyond diet and exercise alone, at what else impacts human performance.
I became certified in functional genomics, looking at the biochemistry within the body and how that impacts human performance. In 2017, I was working with a client as a health coach, and she was using HeartMath technology under the recommendation of her physician. She saw a shift in her readings on the technology and said, “Help me figure out why, what’s going on”. I knew nothing about HeartMath at that time, so when I researched, my reaction was “Wow, there’s actually a lot of research that shows how the rhythm of the heart impacts the biochemistry in the body”. That’s when I dove in. HeartMath technology allows us to look at the rhythm of the heart and how it impacts the expression of our biochemistry inside of our body.
After this realization, there was no turning back. I became certified as a HeartMath Coach-Mentor utilizing their techniques and technology to work with clients as a health coach. Then I became certified as a Resilience Advantage trainer, which included working with organizations, and eventually pursued the Activating the Heart of Teams certification, working with teams that are disconnected and in a state of disharmony. I’m a certified practitioner as well. As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I use HeartMath technology in the diagnosis and treatment of my patients. I’ve also pursued the HeartMath trauma certification. What happened with my client in 2017 sent me down this pathway to utilize HeartMath in all aspects of my work as a coach, trainer, facilitator, and practitioner. The HeartMath science and technology are at the heart of everything that I do.
Can you provide some insight into the specific HeartMath services you offer?
I call myself a “Vitality Guide”, guiding people to connect with their vitality, and to live a meaningful and fulfilled life. I work with individuals and organizations both one-on-one and in groups to optimize their performance and begin to live a meaningful life full of joy and peace. I currently do most of my work with high-performing and high-achieving individuals, such as CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs, and C-Suite executives.
I bring HeartMath science and techniques into everything I do. The self-regulation techniques allow for ease in reprogramming the nervous system and optimizing behavioral change with individuals and teams.
The techniques I utilize include the foundational Heart focused breathing technique, which is where we just focus our attention in the center of the heart and imagine our breath is flowing in and out of the heart or chest area, breathing a little slower and a little deeper than usual. That is the foundational HeartMath technique. It’s a coherent breathing technique that helps us to re-regulate the nervous system. There is a lot of talk out there that we need to relax, but we can’t function at work if we’re relaxed; we can’t drive a car if we’re relaxed; So it’s not relaxation we need, it’s grounded coherence that we need. Coherence is the balance between the sympathetic gas pedal of the nervous system and the parasympathetic brake of the nervous system. So HeartMath techniques focus on coherence, which is a flow state. An athlete is usually in a flow state when they’re performing. They’re not relaxed, but they’re also not stressed out. They’re in a flow state. This flow state is a state of high performance and ease.
You can learn more about my services by watching this video on my website: leadingwithvitality.com/video
What other services do you offer and how do you incorporate your experience as a HeartMath professional into them?
I work a couple of days a week as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, but the majority of my work is high-performance coaching. Performance is defined by how people want to perform in life. Are they too stressed out? Are they physically compromised? Are they sick with a chronic illness, such as Lyme disease, which is a very common one. Are they a high-achieving executive who’s not able to show up post-pandemic and control and command their team the way that they were before? Those are some of the questions we need to ask when it comes to human performance. I utilize HeartMath techniques in all my services as a coach/consultant.
How do you customize your services for individual clients?
Every single client has a unique nervous system, what I call their operating system. This operating system is based on the story behind their eyes, their unique life experiences. These experiences impact the way we each see the world. Everything I do is customized to address and upgrade my clients’ unique programming. One of the things I do as a coach is to find out what their programming is like. What is specific to their nervous system? That’s where the foundation of change hides. Often, we try to command and control ourselves into change, but then we still fail. For example, I was working with a client earlier today, and he was still smoking cigarettes, despite trying everything to quit. That prompts the question “Why is behavioral change so difficult?”.
The answer is that behavioral change is so difficult because we must change the operating system. The operating system is the autonomic nervous system that runs us subconsciously 95% of the day. To the autonomic nervous system, what is familiar is safe. It’s not always the outcome we want, but it’s what’s familiar, so it’s safe. Hence, to achieve the outcome that the client wants or desires, we’ve got to change the operating system. That’s why there’s a unique approach that I take with every client I work with, which is to ultimately to upgrade their operating system. Most of us are still running on our foundational operating system that was formed during our 0-8 years of age.
If we stop and think about what has happened and changed since we were 8 years old, we can see that it’s a lot. For example, for me this was the late 70s and early 80s, and a lot has changed in the world since, but my nervous system will still work towards a set point of back then if I don’t change and upgrade it. So, whether I’m working with a high-performing executive, an industrial athlete to prevent an accident, or a chronically ill person, it’s the same foundation of decoding their patterns, changing their operating system, and teaching them how to regulate their nervous system.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is to unlock hearts, bringing people home to self-love. The high-performing executives I work with have learned to armor up, often just to tolerate working in the corporate world for the last few decades. It fills my heart to guide them in decoding their patterns and opening their hearts. They benefit, their family benefits, and those working with them benefit, sending ripples of love through the ocean of humanity.