I am writing this short piece as my brother in law who is only 30 has a rare heart condition and is fitted with an internal defibrillator (a device used to re-start the heart). He may also now need a replacement heart valve. His defibrillator was needed to re-start his heart the other day after a collapse. This occurred whilst he was “stressing” and on his way to an important course. Stress has a great impact on the heart and it’s not just about diet and he is living proof!
There’s a great book and worth a read: “The Heart Speaks” written by a leading American cardiologist, Mimi Guarneri who helped pioneer heart stents (to maintain clogged arteries). She really covers in her book the emotional life of the heart and in her early days couldn’t understand why some patients were dying who had received the best medical attention – she does now. The heart is not just a pump to supply blood to the organs. Western Scientists and leading cardiologists are discovering that the heart has its own network of neurons – some 40,000 I believe and that many of the messages go heart to brain. In fact, the heart has it’s own form of brain and a new field in medicine is emerging called Neuorcardiology. The heart knows and feels stress, excitement and emotional distress. So it’s not just about healthy eating but also taking care of your heart from an emotional perspective. Many of the cardiac patients seen and treated in A & E do not paint the typical profile of being overweight and sedentary.
“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, is vast and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there as well as how much space.”
– Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are
Life is busy and challenging these days so make sure you make space for “ME” time to re-energise and maybe just some downtime to gain clarity – even if it feels selfish. To be there for others you have to be there for yourself.