At The Heart Of It All

Yes, this month there’s a focus on Valentine’s Day. However, it’s also “American Heart Month” with a big focus on cardiovascular health.

Is there a reason the symbol for Valentine’s Day is a stylized representation of the shape of our hearts?  Is the dual February focus on hearts a convenience of that image? Is there a separation of the emotional and physical definitions of “heart?”

Maybe. Maybe not.

Throughout February, the American Heart Association‘s “Heart to Heart: Why Losing One Woman Is Too Many” campaign will raise awareness about how 1 in 3 women are diagnosed with heart disease annually.

The Centers for Disease Control is encouraging and empowering Black adults to reduce their risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Black adults in the United States die from heart disease at a rate two times higher than White adults. (From my little podium, it seems to be just one more advantage for white males!)

How is “Heart” defined?

Let’s get back to the issue of emotional and physical definitions of the heart. There’s a great article on Abbott’s website about the complex connections between our emotions and our cardiovascular system, especially our hearts. They say that “science already tells us there is no doubt that emotion impacts not only our mental health but also our physical well-being, especially that of the heart.” Our nerves and brains have a big influence on the functioning of our hearts.

There’s also that little phrase we use about “getting to the heart of the matter.” It’s an age-old saying emphasizing that the key to something’s existence is at the core.

Whether it’s a problem, a challenge, a game, a relationship or something else, we need to learn what makes it work, what makes it “tick”. Until then, we can’t knowledgeably address it.

Until we know the core of something, we can’t intelligently talk about it.

Until we know the core of a problem, we can’t solve it.

Likewise, until we know what is at our core, successfully creating goals and fulfilling dreams is difficult.

What is your heart’s desire?

A friend of mine was telling me today about their son-in-law who was a software engineer, but is now repairing and rebuilding historic furniture. The joy of doing so was at his core. It fulfilled him.

I know a former medical professional who is now a professional photographer. It’s more fulfilling.

I was once drooling over some handmade jewelry at a craft show and talking to the artist. He revealed that creating jewelry had been his hobby for 20 years during his dentistry career. He retired early because creating beauty gave him much more joy than health care. I’m sure he wasn’t making a dentist’s income on his products, but they were unique, beautiful and priced well enough to make a substantial addition to his retirement pay.

Get to the heart of it

When we are facing a change and trying to decide how we’re going to handle it, we are going to be much more successful when we take time to get to our core. What is it that takes our breath away? What would we rather be doing than anything else?

What drives you to do what you do?

Why are you where you are?

What would be the most satisfying outcome of the change you are facing?

Get to the core of your being and your thinking. Get to the heart of it.

Your emotions and your physical heart keep you healthy. Getting to the heart of any issue you are trying to solve will also keep you mentally healthy.

Take time for your heart in all aspects.

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