© 2016 ARMIN A. ZADEH

Love and Health

July 10, 2016 by Armin A. Zadeh

The “Broken Heart Syndrome” has received new meaning since we learned that emotional stress can lead to actual heart failure – a serious illness. The entity – first described in detail by a colleague of mine at Johns Hopkins just over 10 years ago – has since then been encountered regularly in medical centers around the world. While the exact mechanisms leading to weakening of the heart muscle remain unclear, we know that high levels of certain blood hormones, e.g., adrenaline, which are released in response to a devastating break-up or personal loss, or extreme fear or anxiety, may trigger the syndrome. Fortunately, most patients recover after a few weeks.

It is also known that depression and negative mindsets are associated with many organ dysfunctions and diseases. Even having angry outbursts have now been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular problems. Clearly, the mind has a strong influence on the health of the body. On the other end of the spectrum, happily married couples have been shown to live longer and become ill less often. Good emotional health leads to good physical health. Similar to achieving good physical health through exercise, acquiring good emotional health also requires training. The “workout” required for good emotional health may include regular re-focusing on love and relationships while de-emphasizing material or career goals. Also similar to seeing results from physical exercises, it may take months or even years of devoted practice to achieve a good emotional shape. This is because we tend to adopt less healthy thinking patterns early in life and maintain them for years or even decades, making them difficult to reverse.

Our mind is an extremely powerful tool and we determine how to use it. Unfortunately, it takes lots of practice to reshape our mind which is the reason for why many are stuck in certain thinking patterns and will never enjoy the mind’s potential for creating happiness. Work is important to most of us but being preoccupied with our jobs may pull us too far away from our families and friends. Life is about balance – from the tiniest cell in our body to all living beings on this planet. While we cannot control our genes or some unfortunate events in life, we can help ourselves a lot by nurturing both our mind and our body and by placing a stronger emphasis on love in our lives. But – like everything else – it takes focus and devotion to achieve results.