03 Sep Your Heart And Its Role In Your Mental Health
What do you know about your heart and its role in your mental health? This article explains how a healthy heart is linked to a healthy mind. Read on to find out more.
Your Heart And Its Role In Your Mental Health
At some point, we’ve been asked to think with our heads and not our hearts. Ever stopped to wonder why the analogy? How are they both related? And more importantly, how do you think with your heart anyway?
It could sound funny because the heart is a human organ, while the mind is just a mental process. Whatever the case may be, it is necessary to distinguish between the two and understand as well as acknowledge the fact that the mind and the heart could be interrelated. At this point, let’s dive into business.
What Is A Heart?
A heart is a human organ. Its function is to pump blood. Yes, it may serve as the major blood-pumping organ, but that is not the only function it has. The heart plays an important role in the mental health of humans. Though not widely talked about or discussed, it is a thing worthy of note.
What Is The Mind?
The mind is the part of a person that thinks, reasons, understands and remembers. Although mostly confused with the brain, the brain and the mind are two different things.
While the brain is the human organ responsible for coordinating body processes, the mind refers to a person’s thought process. The mind operates on three (3) levels, namely –
1. The Conscious mind
2. The Subconscious mind and
3. The Unconscious mind
The Conscious Mind: This is the part of your mind that is aware of everything happening around you. It makes you conscious of yourself and your environment. It includes things like sensations, feelings, memories, and so on.
The Subconscious Mind: Consider this part of your mind as a middle point. It’s a part of your mind that involves thoughts that you are not thinking of at the moment, but it can easily be drawn into your conscious mind, making it easier for you to access the thoughts. The memories in the subconscious can come into your conscious mind. For example – solving a division mathematics question. What to do is lodged in your subconscious and gets called to your conscious mind when you need it.
The Unconscious Mind: Dreams are one of the most popular things in the unconscious mind. The thoughts here (the unconscious mind) can also come into the conscious mind, but it needs to be in a disfigured form, hence the dream.
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What Are Mental Conditions?
Examples include depression, personality disorder, bipolar disorder, psychosis, anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia.
Mental conditions are situations in which the mind has been altered negatively. It could range from a minor case of a moody state to issues as serious as dementia. Mental Conditions do not affect your mood alone but your thinking and behaviour too.
How Is The Heart Related To The Mind?
Although the mind is supposedly the thinking and decision-making faculty of the body, early humans believed the heart was capable of controlling emotions. This includes emotions like fear, love, anger, etc.
When you feel any of these emotions, your heartbeat accelerates faster. This happens because of the presence of a hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline is pumped to the heart at such times.
In research by Neurologists, they found that the heart and the mind do communicate. Wow! that sounds crazy, but it happens. They communicate in two major ways, which include:
Neurological and Biochemical means.
Neurological communication happens through nerve impulse transmission, where information is sent to and fro both sites via neuron signals.
Biochemical communication occurs when messages are sent via hormones in the bloodstream.
These two sites are in a constant two-way dialogue and understanding this dialogue and how it works could be very helpful, especially concerning your health.
Staying Healthy. Is It Feasible?
Upon recognizing that the heart and the mind are constantly in sync, it is important to note that harbouring negative or positive emotions controls the rhythm of the heart and subsequently, the signals sent to the brain.
Emotions like frustration, anger, worry, or stress result in incoherent abnormal heart rhythm, which sets off various negative reactions in the body. This could lead to major health issues like stroke, heart attacks, etc.
On the other hand, emotions like happiness, excitement, and joy result in a more coherent rhythm which results in a feeling of calm, solitude, and mental and nervous system balance.
There are several ways to maintain these positive emotions at all times. These include but are not limited to:
● Maintaining a healthy diet: When we feed properly and consistently on meals rich in proteins, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats with an equally healthy intake of clean water, our bodies will work as they should.
● A good consistent physical activity regimen: Regular moderate physical activities can help to regulate your heartbeat and clear up your mind resulting in a healthier lifestyle.
● Manage stress factors: Generally, it is advisable to stay away from things that tend to stress you out, but when impossible, learn how to take things in stride and not over worry concerning any issue.
● Cherish happy moments: Positive emotions result in a healthier state of the body and mind. Therefore, it is imperative to learn how to celebrate small wins, bask in the memories of positive achievements, and get together with loved ones for a shared moment of laughter.