Tuesday, June 20, 2017

TribeLife Tuesday: Heart Flex

A weekly post from my childhood to grown-up friend Carrie ~ 
sharing her awesome life and her desire to have community while doing it!

Happy TribeLife Tuesday!!! 

First things first, thank you for your faithfulness in spending time with me each each week! I am so grateful for you.

Today I want to discuss a familiar topic, but first, wherever you are, take a deep breath. Take in the deepest breath you’ve taken all day. Ready yourself to journey with the tribe. 

What is the posture of your heart? It’s a loaded question, I know, but lean into this reflective space and take a moment to examine your heart. I think this precious time of self-evaluation is imperative for our heart health. It’s vital that we look into ourselves and make sure we are actively becoming who we want to be. For me, I know I don’t nail this as often as I would like. I would even love to be even my semi-best me more often than I am, but I am on my way there and it is not without challenges. 

So, let’s talk heart posture; while I’m primarily talking about the attitude of our hearts, I do think it is very interesting how our hearts are strategically postured in our bodies. It’s almost as if your heart is floating inside you. You see, there is a double-walled sac called the pericardium that encases the heart, which serves to protect and anchor it inside the chest. This pericardium fixes the heart in place and limits its motion due to its attachment to the diaphragm, the sternum and the tunica adventitia (outer layer) of the great vessels (Click here for more on that). Needless to say, our hearts are a phenomenon and how we care for them is deeply imperative. 

The heart is also considered a muscle, and when we flex it, we show the world what’s what’s going on inside of us. While this flexing isn’t seen, it can be felt in how we treat others, the way we care for people, the way we talk to them and especially how we love those who seemingly can offer nothing in return. I think it is safe to say that how we flex our heart is our character and, as we build our character, it’s like doing weight training for our hearts. I certainly want my heart flex to say more about me than my words or anyone else's ever could. I want my actions to reflect a heart that is kind and loving and strong. So I pose this: how beautiful and defined is your flex? Are you caring for your heart well?

Did you know that the heart and mind are intricately connected? Funnily enough, before I started writing today’s blog, I said to myself that the brain and heart are different and unrelated; the brain or mind is for logic and the heart is for feeling. And, boy was I wrong about that! The effect of heart activity on brain function has been researched extensively over the past 40 years and here are some of the things we’ve found out:
  • Heart signals have a significant effect on brain function— influencing emotional processing as well as higher cognitive faculties such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving.
  • During stress and negative emotions, the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered and inhibit higher cognitive functions, limiting our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. (This helps explain why we may often act impulsively and unwisely when we’re under stress.) The heart’s input to the brain during stressful times also has a profound effect on the brain’s emotional processes, actually serving to reinforce the emotional experience of stress.
  • In contrast, the more ordered and stable pattern of the heart’s input to the brain during positive emotional states has the opposite effect—it facilitates cognitive function and reinforces positive feelings and emotional stability. This means that sustaining positive emotions, not only benefits the entire body, but also profoundly affects how we perceive, think, feel, and perform.
  • Scientists have discovered that the heart possesses its own intrinsic and highly sophisticated nervous system.
  • Lastly, we now understand that the heart not only responds to emotion, but that the signals generated by its rhythmic activity actually play a major part in determining the quality of our emotional experience from moment to moment. 
Click here for more info about your amazing heart.

How amazing is your heart! And how imperative it is for us to take care of ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. My hope is that you are pursuing your best life with the best tribe. I hope you are finding ways every day to flex your heart muscle and love and honor others well. Here is a reminder for us all- let’s never get so caught up in our lives that we lose our sense of purpose or our zeal for what truly matters to us. Let’s take care of our hearts and our brains, let’s guard them, and be intentional with what we allow in and what we allow out. You are a gift to this world and I especially look forward to you thriving in your best life. 

Thank you for reading!

See you next Tuesday.


*Please note that content in guest blogs is not necessarily shared by the station manager (i.e. Wendi!)

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