I come from a family steeped heavily in the traditions of Western medicine. My mother was an operating room scrub nurse so our dinnertime conversations were sometimes very, um, graphic. Needless to say I did not grow up with a phobia of blood.
When I met my husband it was a collision of worlds. His family was more holistic in their approach to healing. Whether it was due to living in a rural environment where access to health care was sparse, or because his mother attributed ridding the lumps in her breast to juicing, I’m not sure. But we definitely had very different ways of looking at doctor visits.
As we began to merge our respective cultures I remember the book, Feelings Buried Alive Never Die by Karol K. Truman became a reference manual of sorts for us. The premise of the book is that many of our physical ailments are due to unresolved feelings and emotions. It seemed like a nice happy medium between our modern vs. holistic lifestyles, and we often jokingly referred to it any time we had body or muscle aches.
Deep down I think we felt there was some real correlation between emotions and ailments.
It was this book that came to my mind this week as I contemplated heart health and I was curious to see what other research had been done around the emotion/heart health connection. After all, I knew there was a connection between working out and stress reduction, so the idea of emotions affecting health suddenly made sense.
I did some digging and was surprised to find there have been several studies done about this very subject. Some scientists have even demonstrated a connection between negative emotions including anger, anxiety and depression and the hardening of the arterial walls!
In our recent blog about heart disease and prevention, we talk a lot about how movement and a good diet are essential for a healthy heart. This is all absolutely true, but I am going to add “get mental health in check” to that list too. The good thing is I 100% believe that the former has a positive effect on the latter. I know from personal experience that being active does wonders for my sanity and helps keep me in charge of my mental well-being.
I started STRIVE with Janelle so people like me and you could have a place to address ALL aspects of our wellness, not just the physical. This National Heart Month has been a great way to introduce yet another way we can all help each other be our best selves.
Have you ever felt the impact emotions have on your health? Please share in the comments!