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Week 9: Feel For Your Heart

When I was in junior high, I really wanted to get straight "A's" one semester. The previous term, the only class I didn't receive an "A" in was science. As a result, I decided I was really going to study hard for this big test we were having in science over the cardiovascular system. I really focused and read the textbook, read over my notes, and answered the questions at the end of the chapter. Two things happened as a result. First, I learned that I had an incredible memory and could practically memorize chapters in the book (which I later used to my advantage in college), and I learned how amazing the human body, the cardiovascular system, and the heart truly are.

It's not a mistake that our hearts are at our core, almost at the center of who we really are as people. The heart helps us feel relaxed through the autonomic nervous system, it tells us to feel excited through sympathetic responses and allows us to focus and feel relaxed through the parasympathetic response. When we are scared or frightened or need to run away, the heart beats faster to give us the energy and the ability to run or overcome whatever we feel is attacking us. Our hearts feel for us without us even asking it to. It's automatic. That is how you can remember....the autonomic nervous system is automatic.

While our hearts are feeling for us, we forget to feel for our hearts. Every time we become stressed, we put our hearts to work in faster and faster mode. When we allow ourselves to become angry or yell, we put our hearts to work and make them beat faster and faster. I have a friend who is a very laid back and relaxed person. I can tell as soon as he gets upset, though, because he has to get up and walk around. He has to react to his heart beating faster. He has to feel his heart, as his heart controls his actions. But, he actually controls his heart, too.
Image by ColiN00B on Pixabay

We sometimes forget that we do have control over our hearts and our own bodies. It isn't necessary to yell and scream at the football team we are watching on television. It isn't necessary to get so angry or frustrated when at church that our blood pressure increases. I use those two examples, because more heart attacks than we would like to think happen over someone being upset at church or watching their favorite sports team on television. When we get angry, the sympathetic nervous kicks in and makes our heart beat faster. Studies have proven that when the heart beats faster, there is a greater risk for dislodging blood clots and allowing them to travel to the heart or brain and causing blockage or broken vessels, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes.

The same is true for others. Someone who wants to make another person angry all the time isn't feeling for their heart, either. Intentionally making someone angry or trying to "get their goat" or "mess with them" could actually be dangerous for an individual who already suffers from heart disease. One angry episode could cause irreversible damage to the person's cardiovascular system and to the body.

As people, we are emotional, feeling, responsive creatures. We "think" with our hearts and our brains. However, sometimes, we have to feel our hearts, feel what our hearts are telling us, and remember that we can take care of our hearts as well as our hearts take care of us. This week, as you are walking, think about how you can feel for your heart.