In Susanna Bair's recent Huffington Post blog post entitled "Take Heart! 4 Experts Discuss the Mechanics, Energy, and Health of the Human Heart," she explores "the many unique ways of perceiving and working with the heart." By interviewing "four diverse heart experts," Bair offers their views on "the mechanics, energy, and health of the human heart." One of these experts is Brian Luke Seaward, author of Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being, Seventh Edition.
Going beyond just the anatomy, many experts agree that the heart "is far more than just a physical organ." Seaward explains that,
"Some people refer to the metaphysical heart as the heart chakra -- an ancient Sanskrit word for 'spinning wheel. Eastern tradition symbolizes the heart chakra as a lotus flower or water lily. This wisdom suggests that when this flower is open, energy flows freely from the symbolic heart to the anatomical heart. If the flower is closed, the vital energies necessary for proper heart function are compromised.
Anger and fear close the heart chakra, whereas love and compassion open it. [For this reason,] love is essential for a healthy anatomical heart function, but you surely don't read this in the medical literature. Sages and wisdom keepers called a closed heart chakra a hardened heart. That sounds a lot like atherosclerosis to me. You don't need to look too far to see that the symbolic heart and the anatomical heart have much in common."
In a recent article series on stress management, The American Heart Association (AHA) agrees that stress-related feelings like anxiety, anger, and depression can lead to physical conditions such as fatigue, insomnia, and pain. All of these can contribute to a heart attack risk, especially when they include smoking, poor diet, and an inactive lifestyle.
The AHA recommends several ways to optimize heart health that range from exercise, healthier food choices, and behavioral changes to combat stress. "Seaward further advises cultivating a sense of gratitude, actively expressing and receiving love, behaving with kindness and compassion, and regularly practicing forgiveness, so as to open the portals of the heart."
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