If this title grabbed your attention, there’s a reason for it. It could be the well-being of your heart or that of someone else’s. Since the awareness of cardio vascular health seems to surge in February I felt compelled to write about this health concern, which by the way, should be given the same attention all year round! Essentially, the heart is our lifeline. It delivers oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removes wastes by pumping blood throughout the body. Fascination with the heart dates back to the early 1500’s when Italian painter, architect and engineer, Leonardo DaVinci dissected the heart of a 100 year old man. He ultimately discovered the pattern of blood flow through the heart and as a result, produced the first known description of coronary artery disease.
Still the Number One Killer….
The 2016 update from the American Heart Association stated cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for more than 17.3 million deaths per year. It is also the number one killer for women, surpassing all forms of cancer combined. We can easily find countless articles on ways to prevent heart disease and recover from heart attacks. This includes getting plenty of exercise, eating a clean diet, stop smoking and minimize stress. However, keeping the nervous system in check is also critically important.
The spinal nerves that exit from the upper back (thoracic spine) govern heart function but it’s important to have the entire spine aligned. This ensures optimal communication between the brain and all systems in your body since everything is intricately connected.
Proper testing such as blood panel and more specifically, a Lipoprotein Particle Test will give you a baseline and identify your at-risk status in order for your physician to make any necessary recommendations.
Your Emotional Heart Health.
So, it’s Heart Health Month. If those New Year’s Resolutions have already started fading into the background maybe now is a good time to re-start your engine! You know, that diet and exercise thing? But what about our emotional health? Do feelings and emotions only come from the brain? The Ancient Egyptians believed the heart is the organ of truth. For example: Why does our heart race when we lie?
The Heart-Brain Dance.
The heart actually contains neurons (nerve cells) similar to those in the brain. This enables a two way communication between the heart and brain which together produce emotions. Despite the research, we can just see by experience how grief, sorrow and traumatic events adversely affect our health.
The Broken Heart
It’s not just an expression. The diagnosis is “stress cardiomyopathy”. Intense emotional or physical stress can cause rapid heart weakness, mimicking symptoms of a heart attack.
- Take control of your happiness.
It is easy to slip into a pattern of relying on circumstances or relationships to make you happy. Being the sole source of your own happiness sets the foundation for emotional stability. An emotional fallout caused by external events or disappointments will not sabotage your core emotional strength. So own your right to be happy! Pamper yourself, walk in nature, learn something new! Leave the uptight ones at home and hang out with the fun loving, laid back folks during those down times. Hug your dog! An ounce of happiness gained from these experiences can give your immune system a boost!
- Seek solitude.
Dedicate some time to do things that make you happy, especially during the most challenging times. Reconnect with yourself and take an occasional time out for reflection to listen to your heart and not the stress induced noise in your head. If this is too difficult, try doing things to make others happy. This can also help increase healthy neurotransmitter activity (the happy brain chemicals)!
- Let go of what doesn’t serve you. This is often difficult for many but if a situation is causing angst, tension, pain, or loss of sleep, it’s time to throw in the towel. This may mean cutting ties or surrendering to the reality that this is a no-win situation. But what you can change is your reaction to it. Negativity that lies beyond our control is not worth the uphill battle when it comes to your health.
Life is a manifestation of our choices. How we respond to stressful situations affects our biochemistry, ultimately affecting our health. Take care of your body, but don’t ignore your emotional well-being.
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Yours in health and happiness,
Documentary on YouTube: “Of Hearts and Minds” by David Mallone