Health & Fitness Parenting & Relationships

Get Heart Smart and Maintain a “Heart On”

Written by April Ricchuito

Rumor has it that love makes people do crazy things. With all the hoopla and hype surrounding Valentine’s Day and our external relationships, I thought it would be a somewhat crazy idea to focus on ourselves and our internal relationships, if only for 15 minutes. I’m talking some crazy, sexy, “me” time.

Let’s talk love. Crazy, unapologetic, fierce, fabulous SELF LOVE. We cannot love another until we love ourselves. Our relationships with others will never be any better than the relationship we have with ourselves. Without a doubt, the relationship we have with self is the most important relationship we’ve got.

But Pat Benatar was no liar. Love can be a battlefield, and self love is no exception. War has no boundaries, and there is often a war of the wills between the brain and the heart. It’s a rivalry of epic proportions that cannot be contested; even famed family feud of Shakespeare’s Montagues vs. Capulets cannot compare to the war waged within when you must ask yourself that crucial question: Listen to the brain or the heart?

Modern day medical science has taught us that the brain controls everything in the body. This is what we’ve been led to believe. Because we don’t understand the intelligence of our heart, we are reluctant to allow our heart to lead. Let’s remember who we are and go back to what we “know.”

With this crazy, sexy, fierce, fabulous “me” time, I want you to love yourself–all of yourself–but especially pay homage to and honor your heart. Listen to it beat. Breathe with it. Love it. Learn about it.

Your heart is much more than 10 pounds of muscle that pumps blood to all your vital organs and maintains circulation. Your heart has been leading the way since before you born; in a fetus, the heart is pumping before the brain has even developed because the heart has its own “brain” via an independent central nervous system contained within it. There are at least 40,000 neurons, or nerve cells, in the heart–just as many as in various subcortical centers of the brain.

It’s very plausible that your heart is actually the driver of intelligence, sending information about intuition, emotion and feeling to your brain for your brain to decode. In fact, science is even showing that emotions are linked with the rhythms of the heart. ECG tests have demonstrated this. Studies on the electrical activity in the brain and the heart have demonstrated that emotions can destabilize the cardiac muscle.

Like all of the human body, the heart generates an electromagnetic field. This field generated by your heart is much stronger than the brain’s electromagnetic field. This field extends outside the body and can even be measured across a room.

By no means am I pumping up the heart and saying not to appreciate your great brain; your brain is amazing too.

The brain is awesome when it comes to memory and learning; it’s great at logic and linear thinking. What we must use our brains to remember is that not all things are logical and linear. Time and space are not logical or linear; nor are matters of the heart, including love.

Get heart smart. Learn your heart. Listen to your heart. And keep a “heart on” at all times.

About the author

April Ricchuito

April Ricchuito, D.D., MSW is a writer and integrative practitioner who brings a unique voice to the field of health and wellness by combining traditional evidence-based techniques with ancient practices such as yoga and newer findings in contemplative sciences.

She has been named one of 20 Young Champions for Women by the White Ribbon Alliance and WIE Symposium, presented by Donna Karan and Arianna Huffington. She also authors the column Hell on Heels: Soul Searching. She is currently living and loving in New York City with her Yorkie Frankenstein, whom she really calls Frankie.

Be sure to check out Verbal Vandalism to keep up with April's regular written works and featured contributions!

You can also read her blog Mental Makeup or follow her on Twitter.