A relative told me that when her husband divorced her, the devastation felt like her heart had been broken – there was actual heart pain. The grief was like a death of a loved one, she said – her Dad had died when she was thirteen. To lift her spirits, she wanted to enroll in flying lessons with her son. She failed the routine health check – it was her heart. She chose mental treatment for both problems – mind and body – and was healed. That was 24 years ago. I’ve added links about others, at the end of this post, referring to the same system of mental treatment she used.
Traditionally, in the West, February brings an extra reminder to celebrate love… “oh, Valentine!”. If you are suffering grief, loneliness, anger, disappointment, or something else that’s hurting you, take heart. Changing these destructive thoughts is possible. Why is this important? According to researchers and practitioners, it affects our health.
A headline in The Australian newspaper, “Death of a loved one can truly break a heart”, refers to research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, where grief can cause a risk of heart attack.
The mind-body connection.
This begs the question – how can we recognise and get rid of mental issues causing the effects of ill health? Here are some informative examples of the mind-body connection to ponder. The first, from yesteryear, an excerpt from an article by Mark D. Altschule, M.D.; the second, in today’s high-tech format, via a TEDx talk by Lissa Rankin, M.D.; and last, but not least, something from very yesteryear.
An excerpt from an article written in the Journal of the American Heart Association, “Emotion and the circulation”, by Mark D. Altschule, MD. “John Hunter wrote ‘There is not a natural action in the body, whether voluntary or involuntary, that may not be influenced by the peculiar state of the mind at the time.’ It may be taken for granted that the course of any illness can be influenced by emotional factors, and accordingly the physician must seek evidence of their presence in every case. The lack of adequate data for systematizing information regarding reactions of patients to emotional factors makes it essential for physicians to understand in general what these factors might be and to learn as much as possible about the life and personality of each patient in particular. Evaluation of the significance of emotional factors and their treatment will test his every art, for there is no skill that can be learned quickly and precisely in these matters. Although the barbiturates and other drugs are helpful at intervals, they are less so, and at times may be harmful, in the long run.” Click here for Altschule’s whole article.
Lissa Rankin, MD’s short TEDx talk kicks off with a profound question, “What if I told you that caring for your body is the least important part in caring for your health?”. You could hear a pin drop from her audience! She emphasises healthy relationships as critical to our wellbeing, and even though we know this, for most of us it’s a work in progress. Click here for Rankin’s talk.
AND VERY YESTERYEAR… circa 5th Century BC
The Bible reveals that a happy heart is good medicine – here are sixteen parallel translations of the Bible, and a commentary following, states: “Nothing has such a direct tendency to ruin health and waste out life as grief, anxiety, fretfulness, bad tempers, etc. All these work death.”
Can you see a common thread in these examples, perhaps showing that we need to make time to heal ourselves, and that a good place to start is through our thinking? Love is actually always present. May this Valentine’s Day be wholeheartedly good for you!