The Mind Body Connection is not Just in Your Head!
There is a physical connection between the heart and the brain. In fact they are both made up of the same types of cells. Interestingly, poets have claimed for centuries that the heart has a "mind" of its own, hinting that there is a brain in the heart. Could it be true that the heart has a brain? If so, what does this tell us about emotional stress and health concerns?
Have you ever felt a pain in your heart when you were going through a bad break up or when you were dealing with the death of a close loved one? Technically your heart wasn't getting physically stabbed and there probably wasn't a person sitting on your chest so where does the pain come from?
In the past doctors used to believe that the pain was psychological stress because they considered emotional stress to be purely psychological. They thought that people were mentally creating the pain because they were feeling like their heart was breaking. For them the brain in the heart syndrome was purely a mental state with no physical connection to the heart. Luckily, doctors have been starting to come around to the idea that emotional stress is playing a big role in causing physical heart problems.
Research over the past couple of years has shown that sudden intense emotional feelings such as grief, anger, or fear can have a direct effect on the heart and can even be fatal. They state that ongoing long-term emotional stress can actually shorten our lives by increasing the risk of heart problems or heart disease. Studies have shown that certain people are at a higher risk for physical heart damage than others because of their emotional state or even their personality type. The people who are at a higher risk are:
Doctors are still studying the physical risks that emotional stress causes. It does indeed seem that there is a brain in the heart. There are even some doctors who don't believe in the physical risks because they believe emotions are purely psychological and we only think that we feel physical heart pain. Even so, the studies seem to show strong evidence that emotional stress can cause heart damage and even death. Due to these studies our healthy heart plan should include more than managing cholesterol and blood pressure. It should also include managing our emotional health.