We are all aware of the messages about how to look after our heart.
Give up smoking, keep active by doing a minimum of 30 minutes of activity 5 times a week and to watch our weight. Cut down on salt and saturated fat and watch our alcohol intake.
Eat more fibre and have at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
But what about the connection with your emotional heart.
The connection between the physical and emotional body are so closely linked that an imbalance or upset in your emotions can cause physical symptoms.
I see clients who are suffering from stress and anxiety which can display in their body as heart palpations or feelings of tightness in the chest. This is usually due to the vagus nerve activating the sympathetic nervous system which prepares us to fight or flight in response to stress. When we calm the central nervous system the parasympathetic nervous system regulates the heart and breathing and allows us to rest and digest.
How often do you 'tune in' to your heart and really feel what is happening?
My heart skipped a beat
My heart was racing
My heart was in my mouth
But what do these really feel like?
Here are a few tips on how to look after your emotional heart.
1. Spend a few moments each day connecting with your heart. What do you notice, how does it feel?
2. Take some deep breaths and notice how that feels, does it feel tight in your diaphragm or up in you shoulders or perhaps in the side of your ribs.
3. Take 5 full slow deep breathers. Try to do this at least twice a day, maybe before getting up in the morning (before reaching for your phone and checking your emails!) and when you get into bed. You can then incorporate this into other times of the day too. Simply by doing this you may notice that you start to calm your body and feel that your chest is expanding more easily.
4. Talk to someone about how you a feeling rather than bottling up emotions.
5. Reduce your stress by finding ways that calm your nervous system, this may be going for a walk, listening to music meeting up with a friend.
6. Book a Craniosacral Therapy appointment, which will help to calm the central nervous system, release any restrictions in your body such as tightness in the neck, shoulders or chest and encourage you to connect with your body and release any emotions.
If you are experiencing any chest pain or shortness of breath contact your doctor or call for an ambulance.