By Edye Caine, MA, MAEd
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “heart”?
Did you ever consider how many meanings it actually has?
Here are just a few:
- a hollow muscular organ that pumps the blood through the circulatory system by rhythmic contraction and dilation
- regarded as the center of a person’s thoughts and emotions, especially love or compassion
- courage or enthusiasm
- the vital part or essence
- like very much; love
Amazing isn’t it?! Five little letters joined together can take on so many varied meanings. Take a look at those meanings… Do you realize how central they all are to our being?
“Heart” is the core of our physical, mental, emotional,
and spiritual essence.
We can trace the origins of the word heart to Middle English (herte), Old English (heorte), Germanic (herto), Indo-European (ker), and Latin (cor). Historically speaking the word heart was originally linked to the word courage, which meant: to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart. Evidently, the philosophical meaning came first. In fact, linguistic research points to the idea that the organ was named long after humans created philosophical meanings for the word. That makes sense, right? After all, our physical heart is at the core of our physical being, just as our philosophical heart is at the core of our mental, emotional and spiritual being.
The fact that we have all of these varied meanings clearly says to me that this “heart” is really important! So, if it’s so important, why aren’t we taking care of it? Why aren’t we taking time to nurture our heart in as many ways as we can define it? While taking care of it physically is really important, that entails more than just healthy eating and exercise. It also involves taking care of our mental, emotional, and spiritual heart. Because your heart is at the core of your physical being, it receives information from other parts of your body that have a direct impact on its functioning. For example, if you are really stressed out, your heart rate will increase, your blood pressure will rise, and you may experience heart palpitations. Let’s look at “broken heart syndrome.” This is a condition that is often brought on by extremely stressful situations like the death of a loved one. People experiencing this syndrome actually feel as if their heart is breaking and may experience sudden chest pains similar to a heart attack. Physically, the heart’s function actually changes in this condition. We also know that depression directly impacts heart health. People suffering from depression may have higher blood pressure, different hormone levels, and even stickier platelets that cause the blood to clot more easily. These can lead to atherosclerosis – blockages in the heart’s arteries – and an increased risk heart attack. Just as there are many definitions of the word heart, there are many ways that we need to take care of it to keep it healthy! In fact, it really doesn’t matter how you define it, what matters is that you recognize that this “heart” is the core of your being. It is what keeps you alive, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Make the time to tend to your heart…no matter how you define it! Nurture it!
Schedule a check up, exercise, meditate; talk with a counselor, therapist, or coach; connect to your essence. There are plenty of people out there that are willing and able to help you maintain a healthy heart! I know, it takes too much time; you’re busy. But, the reality is… if you don’t take time, you won’t have time.
Here are 3 easy to do strategies to tend to your heart:
- Meditation – Just 5 minutes a day can have a profound impact on your life. Studies have shown that meditation reduces stress, increases self-awareness, increases happiness, slows aging, and improves cardiovascular and immune health. Want a really unique experience? Try Echo Meditation! Connect all of your “hearts” through guided meditation while experiencing your own beating heart through a live ultrasound.
- Exercise – A half-hour of moderate exercise a day can minimize your risk of stroke, heart attack, and diabetes. It can lead to weight loss, reduce stress, boost your mood, improve energy, and improve memory.
- Have a check–up – Being proactive about your health is the best possible gift you can give yourself! Treat yourself! Visit the cardiologist to get a baseline heart check of your physical heart, speak to a counselor or therapist to gain an understanding of your mental and emotional heart, and perhaps try Reiki to energetically nurture your heart!
The bottom line is no matter how you define it, take care of that which takes such great care of you… YOUR HEART!
Edye Caine, MA, MAEd is an Intuitive Therapist with Master’s level training in Clinical Psychology and Spirituality and is the Founder of Healthy Mind Happy Heart.