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Keeping Your Emotional and Physical Heart Healthy
By Tina Calabrese, LCSW

Recent medical studies have shown that the physical heart needs good food like olive oil, fish, nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruits as well as stress reduction, relaxation, exercise, laughter and fun.

As we grow older it is important to pay attention to our bodies and to know what makes it feel good and what doesn’t. When I swim daily eat vegetables and less carbohydrates I feel my best. Try to have more of a consciousness when you are planning meals and even when you are eating. Think about what you are putting into your body and how that might effect it.

Certain foods also can cause emotional distress like candy and sweets that effect your sugar levels.

If you tune into your body you will find what foods are best for you and what aren’t. You may also crave foods that you need at a given time. You may feel like having potatoes if you need potassium or eggs if you need protein. Your body is amazing and if you allow your mind to communicate with it you will be surprised at how well balanced your energy levels are.

We all know how difficult it is at times to take care of ourselves. No one is perfect yet if most of the time you take care of your heart with eating well and exercising you will allow your loved ones many more years with you. Also remember that you are a role model and your children will imitate you no matter what they say they will. You teach them the most through your actions. They will pick up your eating habits and addictions.

Your emotional heart needs care too. Suppressing emotions of hurt, grief and anger can cause depression and panic. Learn how to identify your emotions and share them, write them out and analyze them so that you can let them go.

Identify what emotionally triggers you and what wounds need to be healed from the past. If you do not heal these wounds you carry them around like a bag of sand around your heart. It effects your ability to be close to others and to have a healthy relationship.

Repressed anger especially can cause great emotional distress. If there is unresolved anger from trauma it will cause symptoms of lethargy, apathy and even suicidal thoughts and feelings.

The emotional heart is a powerful force it helps us to feel great love and therefore great pain. It is a part of you that needs attention just like the physical heart and if you neglect it there may be consequences to your physical heart like added stress and tension and even stress related illnesses.

Keeping both your physical and emotional heart healthy is a key to overall health and success in your life. How you treat yourself can be a reflection of how you treat others and the world in general.

The healthy heart pumps blood and gives life. The emotional heart helps you color in your life by feeling love.  ■

Brody, Janee, “New Thinking on How To Protect The Heart,” NY Times 1/17/09

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