Choosing the Heart Path and the Healing Power of a Loving Heart

Choose the Path With a Heart
What is the Heart Path?
What does it mean to speak from the heart? Is there a connection between heart disease and lack of heartfelt or heart-centered purpose in life?

How Do We Choose the Path with a Heart?
It is important to make lifestyle changes to keep a healthy heart. We must also make emotional and spiritual changes. Research shows that these aspects of health are highly influential on the total well-being of a person. When choosing the heart-path, we choose to be LOVING and conscious to ourselves, our family members and our friends. We choose to eat balanced and nutritious meals, maintain a healthy weight, and be physically fit by keeping active. We  participate in activities that make us truly happy.

 

Children HuggingWhat Does Research Tell Us?
In an essay and review of the research on the effects of love on health entitled  “Love Promotes Health”  researchers Tobias Esch, and George B. Stefano, state:

“Love has consequences for health and well-being. The better we understand the concrete neurobiology of love and its possible secondary implications, the greater is our respect for the significance and potency of love’s role in mental and physical health. Love is closely related to the concept of pleasure and ‘positive psychology’, i.e., joyful mental states, and therefore has become a feature not only of thorough psychological but also basic science research – e.g., neurobiology –and clinical medicine…..Community, social support, health and survival (of the individual and the species) clearly indicate further beneficial properties of the biological love concept. Social support has documented health benefits, and the absence of positive social interactions or social bonds is typically associated with both physical and mental illnesses.”

 

Choosing the path with the heart means choosing the path of kindness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, peace, contentment, responsibility, and generosity. Choosing the path with the heart means loving life…ALL life. YOUR life, my life, his life, her life, animal life, plant life. The air, the water, the soil. Loving it all.  When we choose the “heart path” of kindness and love,  this effects our both our spiritual heart and our physical heart, bringing health and healing to the body.


This sounds far-fetched. Do you meant that there is a connection between a heartless world and a world with heart disease?

 

Not exactly, but there is a scientific and chemical connection between a healthy heart and a heart filled with love and kindness.
First, let’s take a look at heart disease.

How Prevalent is Heart Disease in our Society?
Heart Disease Symptoms
Every year over half a million Americans die of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention most recent statistics:

  • About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths!
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people annually.
  • Every year about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 610,000 are a first heart attack. 325,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.
  • Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

When studying the principles of  heart health,  we know that heredity and genetic factors are major contributors to heart disease, but there are some things that we can change.  Making healthy lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce the risks of heart disease.

What are Some of the High-risk Lifestyles for Heart Disease?

  • A poor diet high in trans fats
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • lack of exercise
  • obesity
  • tobacco use
  • alcohol abuse
  • stress

Heart Attack CausesSo we can greatly lower our risk of heart failure and heart attack by making some life-style changes.  But what does this have to do with choosing the “path of the heart?

 “There are many paths to enlightenment.
Be sure to take one with a heart.”  ~Lao Tzu


Oxytocin in the BrainResearch Shows Kindness and Love Help Prevent Heart Disease

According to multiple research studies,  kindness and love create scientifically measurable chemical reactions in the body.   These chemical changes in the body are “cardioprotective.”    In other words, the chemical reaction that occurs when a person experiences the “emotional lift” during kind, loving, and heart-centered actions, protects our heart.  According to Dr. David Hamilton, PhD, in an article entitled, “5 Side Effects of Kindness,

“Acts of kindness are often accompanied by emotional warmth. Emotional warmth produces the hormone, oxytocin, in the brain and throughout the body. Of recent interest is its significant role in the cardiovascular system.

Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates (expands) the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and therefore oxytocin is known as a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone because it protects the heart (by lowering blood pressure). The key is that acts kindness can produce oxytocin and therefore kindness can be said to be cardioprotective.”

Dr. Hamilton further explains that oxytocin also “reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system.”  This reduction of free radicals slows down the aging process. Free radicals and inflammation play a major role in heart disease , as documented by D. Jezova, and M. Ondrejcakova  of the Institute of Experimental Endocrinology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia.  These researchers concluded that oxytocin has a powerful effect on free radical and inflammation levels, which have been proven to lead to coronary heart disease.  Therefore, when we engage in acts of kindness and love, we are reducing inflammation in the body and reducing heart disease risk.

 

Serotonin and the brainIn his book, the “Power of Intention”, Dr. Wayne Dyer cites scientific studies concluding that kindness both increases levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin and strengthens our immune systems. When serotonin is released into the body, people feel less stress, euphoric, relaxed and happy. The biological, psychological and mental effects of kindness on the human body are expansive and not limited only to the “givers” or the “receivers.”  Research has shown that an act of kindness not only increases the levels of serotonin in the recipient, but also in the person who is being kind, and in those who witness the act of kindness.

Multiple research studies show that love and kindness are key to health and healing.  When we ignore our true heartfelt instincts, we can make ourselves ill.   So why not listen to our hearts  and love ourselves and your lives?  Let our hearts tell us how to live our lives.

For now, let us always remember Lao Tzu’s words and choose the path with a heart.  If we as a country and as a world,  start making heartfelt choices in all we do, then we heal our bodies, ourselves and our universe and have a happy, healthy heart—mind, body, and spirit.

Resources
Bartels A, Zeki S. The neural correlates of maternal and romantic love. Neuroimage 2004;21:1155–66. (.pdf)

Blumenthal JA, Sherwood A, Babyak MA, Watkins LL, Waugh R, Georgiades A et al. Effects of exercise and stress management training on markers of cardiovascular risk in patients with ischemic heart disease: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2005; 293:1626–34.

Carter CS. Neuroendocrine perspectives on social attachment and love. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1998;23:779–818.
Davidson RJ, Kabat-Zinn J, Schumacher J, Rosenkranz M, Muller, D, Santorelli SF et al.  Alterations in brain and immune function
produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosom Med 2003;65:564–70.

Dyer, Dr. Wayne, The Power of Intention, Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way, HayHouse.com

Hamilton, David R, 5 Side Effects of Kindness,  May 30, 2011.

Tobias Esch, and George B. Stefano, Love Promotes Health.  Neuroendocrinology Letters, No.3 June, Vol.26, 2005,  ISSN 0172–780X, http://www.nel.edu

Velazquez, Barbara,  A Review of Scientific Evidence Supporting the Link Between Altruism and Health, Taskforce for Humanity Coalition,

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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
  Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.


Disclaimer:
 The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Prescription Drugs – Mind/Heart Wisdom

Do we use abuse prescription drugs? Can we reduce the incidence of prescription drug use and drug abuse in our country? Are there other alternative and holistic health options besides prescription drugs?

Buon pomeriggio, friends and health enthusiasts!

Today mind/heart wisdom, drug use, pain and stress relief is the MBHA topic and focus. Although this is a time to be grateful and filled with love, holiday shoppers can be seen frantically grabbing  hot deals, and family members can overeat, overwork, lose their tempers, and experience pain and fatigue. It’s a reminder that holiday stress often brings aches and pains, financial worries and debt, and drugs are often the chosen remedy and quick fix.  Using the mind/heart wisdom is so important during these times. Let’s check out some current statistics about the drug dilemma here in the United States.

Here are a few startling facts.

Prescription Drugs

Click to enlarge photo, and copy and share with friends. According to a recent report by the NIDA, 25% of adults who started abusing prescription drugs at 13 years of age or younger met clinical criteria for addiction later in life.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), unintentional death from overdose of opioids has quadrupled steadily since 1999 and now outnumbers those deaths from heroin and cocaine combined.  Between 1991 and 2010, prescriptions for stimulants increased from 5 million to nearly 45 million and for opioid analgesics from about 75.5 million to 209.5 million, or about 36% increase.

The medication most frequently abused is pain relievers.

Out of the more than seven million people abusing prescription drugs, more than five million people abused pain relievers in the past year.

The good news is that while cannabis use has risen in the United States, prescription drug abuse among youth and adolescents has dropped in the past year, but prescription drug abuse and death from prescription drugs, still remains a major concern. Social, emotional and mental stress, physical injuries, acute and chronic illnesses, environmental toxicities, poor diet, lack of sleep, and other situations can cause severe body pain.

So what can we do?

The  often used phrase “Mind/Heart Wisdom” comes to mind. As a holistic health nonprofit,  it is the mission of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance (MBHA) staff and volunteers to share alternative and complimentary approaches to healing.  The list is long  (energetic healing, naturopathic, homeopathic, acupuncture, herbal remedies, yoga, Tai Chi, aromatherapy, essential oils, hypnotherapy, light therapy, music therapy, and much more, too numerous to name).

Certainly there are situations where prescription drugs are necessary.

A health education nonprofit, such as MBHA acknowledges each individual’s right to choose his or her way of healing.  Like many educational service organizations, we are  here as to offer solutions when one way has failed and a person is seeking other options. However, we as a nation and as a world, can choose to use Mind/Heart Wisdom.  We can choose to listen to that inner guidance and higher wisdom within each of us, to know how to care for our bodies.  Of course, that’s easier said than done. If we are deep in depression, Mind/Heart Wisdom is hard to hear.

Let us remember those 5 million people and make wise choices this holiday season. 

This holiday season, we at MBHA plan to continue to nurture and nourish ourselves and share this information with you, as a health education nonprofit.  When the head, knees and back are aching, we’re  going to try to listen to the Mind/Heart Wisdom and ask, “What can I do to love my body?”   Prescription drugs and pain killers are certainly important for the survival and comfort of many people around the world, yet there might be times when we can do some stretching exercises, change the diet, get more sleep, or visit an alternative therapist before considering taking more pain medications.  We invite you to share with us. Let us explore ALL health options, and listen and learn together on this journey in life.

Sending love and best wishes,
The MBHA Staff and Volunteers