UPLIFTING THE HEART DURING DIFFICULT TIMES
By Eileen Johnson
We are living in a time when massive paradigm shifts are creating both fear and anguish all over the globe. The heart and the heart chakra are particularly vulnerable during this time but there are simple things keep it strong and happy.
Anatomy of the Spirit
Caroline Myss, in her book “Anatomy of the Spirit” speaks of the strong connection between emotions and the physical body. The fourth Chakra, that includes the heart, breasts and lungs, are particularly affected by emotions such as love and hatred, resentment and bitterness, grief and anger, loneliness, forgiveness and compassion, hope and trust. She leads the reader through a healing process for this chakra that includes letting go of past wounds, understanding the power of love and forgiveness, and how to find strength in ourselves.
My own parents and faith community taught me from a very young age that great joy can be found in helping others, even when facing my own difficulties. This not only “warms the heart” of the people we serve, but strengthens our own hearts by decreasing our own stress levels and giving us a more positive outlook.
Simple Stress Relief Options
Stress relief strengthens the heart and circulatory system in many ways. It decreases the stress hormone cortisol that, in chronically high levels, promotes inflammation and makes it difficult for the body to make nightly repairs to the cardiovascular system. It relieves the adrenal glands that indirectly control blood sugar levels, chronically high levels of which promote inflammation and damage organ systems such as blood vessels. Yoga, tai chi and qi gong bring excellent stress relief. Simple practices such as deep, belly breathing for 5 minutes 4 times a day or quiet meditation promote a positive attitude. Relaxation tapes are available from the library.
A Heart Strengthening Diet
Start meal planning with colorful vegetables, attempting to eat 5 a day. Use oils such as olive or grape seed oil. Ensure that you are eating 25-35 grams of fiber, crucial in decreasing inflammation. Cut out refined sugar and white flour that raise blood sugar levels too quickly and promote high levels of insulin release. Eating small amounts of healthy proteins, including fresh nuts that are high in magnesium and Vitamin E, every couple of hours can also control blood sugar levels.
Easy Exercise Options
20 minutes of brisk walking outside in the winter wonderland or inside a cozy mall can uplift the spirits and promote cardiovascular health. Walking up and down the stairs in your home to the sound of music will do the same.
The American College of Cardiology recently stated that Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and blood vessel inflammation. A health practitioner can determine your vitamin D level through a simple blood test and suggest supplementation. 1000mg of D3 daily is considered a safe dose without testing.
Coenzyme Q 10 is the primary antioxidant for all muscles in the body, the most important one being the heart. Dr. Stephen Sinatra writes extensively about using this supplement to support heart function. His website is a great resource of information
Fish oil is crucial for dampening associated inflammatory conditions that are associated with heart disease. Hawthorn is a gentle way of giving the heart and blood vessels functional support. It is considered a heart “tonic”, lending support to the hard working heart. As with all herbs, check with your doctor first if you are on any medication for the heart as interactions can occur.