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Doctor Gayle's Corner

Perspectives Of the Heart/Mind


In recent articles I’ve discussed the mind and how we have the power to take control of our thoughts. In relationship to that over the past few years I’ve also been evaluating and assessing the condition of my own heart in conjunction with both spiritual and scientific laws. One of the major spiritual laws is that we are mandated to love our neighbor (everybody) as ourselves. This very mandate caused me to assess my heart condition and where is it in relationship to my mind and thoughts and how I treat others. You see I’ve determined after years of study that there is definitely a connection between the heart, mind, and body. In other words what takes place in our heart directly affects the way we think, act and treat others. Additionally the way we process things in the heart also has a huge long lasting effect on our physical body.

When discussing the correlation between the heart and mind, Dr. Vijai P. Sharma, MD, Ph.D., board certified in internal medicine, sociologist, and human rights activist, reported the following results that were published in the New England Journal of Medicine a few years ago:

[quote]“Memory, attention and concentration somewhat declined immediately after a bypass surgery and similar decline was observed five years after.”[/quote]

So what exactly is Dr. Sharma implying? Exactly this; as a result of a physical heart condition the patient’s mental and emotional status were affected as well. So it would stand to reason that if we reverse the situation, a broken heart (emotions) could directly cause physical issues in our lives. According to previous research, the chemicals dopamine and oxytocin, each relating to our state of happiness and trust are released in the brain/body when a person falls in love. So what happens when this state of happiness and trust is violated or abandoned?

Physiological Changes

Abandonment and rejection have a grave effect on the autonomic nervous system. So what exactly is the autonomic nervous system? Wikipedia’s description: “The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is the part of the peripheral nervous system that acts as a control system, functioning largely below the level of consciousness, and controls visceral functions.”

The ANS affects heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, salivation, perspiration, pupillary dilation, micturition (urination), and sexual arousal.

Undue stress or pressure also weakens our immune system causing a breakdown and opening the door to sickness and disease.

Consider the following scenario:

Your husband or wife of more than 25 years has just left you for another man or woman. He has not only wiped out the joint savings account, but confiscated the stocks and bonds from the safe deposit box, converted his retirement so you’re no longer entitled to your portion, and forged your name on a large second mortgage causing the home which you’ve lived in all of your 25 years of marriage to be placed in foreclosure. All of this has happened without any knowledge or prior warning. You have two children, one in college and one about to graduate high school. The family college fund is now gone along with all the other financial resources that you thought would secure the future of you and your children. In addition to this, you’ve been the homemaker for these past 25 years with no career experience whatsoever. Imagine the psychological, physiological, emotional, and mental, manifestation taking place at this time.

Heart Changes

Dr. Sharma in further discussion of the article printed in the New England Journal of Medicine, describes,

[quote]“The heart physically communicates with the brain and the rest of the body. The communication pathways, which originate in the heart, travel through the emotional memory section of the brain and go all the way to the top of the brain responsible for thinking and reasoning. The heart has a complex nervous system, with the capability to learn and remember.”[/quote]

With that said, when we consider the condition of the heart whether it be a recipient of a relationship gone awry resulting in a very messy divorce, wounded from an early childhood trauma like sexual, physical, or mental and emotional abuse, the loss or death of a loved one, domestic violence, termination from a job, maltreatment, disrespect or dishonor in a ministry or business relationship, we have to consider how this shattering/splintering of the heart affects our bodymind and our mental capacity to move forward pursuing our destiny.

Brain/Mind Changes

Dr. Candace Pert is an internationally recognized scientist and pharmacologist who has published over 250 scientific articles. She served as Chief of the Section on Brain Biochemistry of the Clinical Neuroscience Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Dr. Pert reveals in her book Molecules of Emotions,

[quote]“the frontal cortex of the brain contains neuronal centers necessary for understanding and producing language, for conceptualization and abstraction, for judgment, and for the capacity of humans to contemplate and exert control over their lives.”[/quote]

Having read her book and considered much of her scientific research spanning more than twenty years, I have gained greater clarity of the laws governing the functioning of our body, mind, and heart and the interconnectedness. Ms. Pert describes the link between emotions and body functions in the following manner:

[quote]“Emotions and bodily sensations are thus intricately intertwined, in a bidirectional network in which each can alter the other. Usually this process takes place at an unconscious level, but it can also surface into consciousness under certain conditions, or be brought into consciousness by intention.”[/quote]

Considering how the average person, or shall I say many people respond to situations and circumstances based on their emotions, it is no wonder that the world is filled with dysfunctionality, depression and other mental disorders, chaos and confusion. An old ancient text states, [quote]“A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.”[/quote] So what does one do when the heartmind has been crushed, shattered, and splintered? The first thing that you should not do is isolate yourself, alienating from everyone. That situation generally leads to deep depression oftentimes becoming a chronic problem. These emotional issues will affect your judgment and your ability to conceptualize or exert any type of control over your thoughts. And what about the anger, disappointment, bitterness, unforgiveness, shame, condemnation or even guilt?

The effects of these emotions are rampantly racing through your body’s cellular system, causing the stress molecules known as the hormone adrenaline to be released into your blood stream. Most of you have a fairly decent idea of what happens when adrenaline starts pumping through the bloodstream. The adrenal gland sits right on top of the kidneys, so take a guess what’s going on physiologically as adrenaline is raging or dripping poisonous stress onto and throughout the kidney. I like to think of myself as being relatively intelligent, therefore once I learn better I do better. That said, once I learned of the affect that stress has on my physical body I immediately took action to eliminate and/or control the stress.

In bringing these important issues to your attention I hope you will take the same action I have taken to take control over the condition of your heart/mind and the physiological effects it causes. Ironically heart issues also play as much of a role in our brain system. When we consider our emotional makeup, the limbic system, the hypothalamus, and the amygdala have been proposed according to Candace Pert as the “centers of emotional expression.” She reasons, “From my perspective, the emotions are what link body and mind into bodymind.” When we allow these emotional distractions to throw us off course we place our destiny on hold and in some cases in danger of never reaching the threshold we are designed to reach.

So what do we do when our heartmind is crushed? Since everything that happens in our lives affects the heart in one way or another, along with our immune system, cellular system, mind and body let’s look at some practical ways to maintain a healthy heart-mind-body:

Determine what value you place on your heart from a mental and emotional perspective.

Stop trying to manipulate (we don’t call it that of course) or control the lives of other people simply because they don’t dance to the music you play.

Stop holding people hostage by alienating them or simply writing them off because they somehow displeased you, and yet “you” said you loved them.

Purpose to forgive everyone quickly who has caused you anguish, anger, or offense so you can move forward.

If your heart starts beating rapidly when a certain person who has wronged you is mentioned deal with that situation immediately. That’s undue stress releasing poison into your system.

Address any relationships you have trashed all because it didn’t go the way you anticipated it to go. Can that relationship be salvaged? If it is not toxic can steps be taken to improve it?

From a physiological perspective if you have medical issues deal with each one by taking the necessary steps for weight loss, changing eating habits, and exercise. As stated above more often than not medical issues become mental and emotional issues.

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