World Heart Day Special: Love and Health
On September 29th, more than 120 countries celebrate World Heart Day. This holiday aims to raise people’s awareness of vascular diseases and their treatment and prevention. For this occasion, we have prepared for you some exciting facts that confirm that love is not only a beautiful feeling but also a cure! The relationship between love and health.
The heart is not only a vital organ of the body but also a symbol of love. And the question is why? Does it mean that a person in love has a healthier heart? Let’s find out…
The origin of the red symmetrical representation of the heart
Western cultures are famous for celebrating love. Indeed, there’s a day dedicated to that, which is February 14th, or St. Valentine’s Day. On this date, a variety of products appear on the market. And what most of them have in common is a representation of the heart as a red and symmetrical form. But if we look to the anatomy of a real heart, it actually looks pretty different from the drawings. So where did this representation come from?
According to available sources, St. Valentin was sentenced to death. Just before his execution, he sent a letter to a girl that he had healed before, where he drew a heart in such a way. Whether that shape was his idea or not remains unclear, but he definitely was the one responsible for spreading it. Some earlier drawings show the heart in the form of a cone.
The famous anthropologist Desmond Morris has a different hypothesis. He says that the heart symbol derives from the shape of the female buttocks. Alternative hypotheses also say that it is a representation of female breasts.
The heart as a symbol of love
The heart is the sign of eternal love; it is the home of the warmest feelings. Wondering why it became such as symbol? Because many emotions, like joy, excitement, and even anxiety, manifest through accelerated heartbeats. Sometimes, however, we feel a weight in the breast, as if our hearts have turned into stones. This is how sadness or hopelessness manifests. Finally, who never felt as if your heart was tearing apart? This is how mental pain, grief, or despair give physiological signs. In fact, these are not only poetic metaphors!
Do you remember what happened to your heart when you met your beloved person? I think that this feeling leaves no doubt and explains why they say “we love” with all our hearts. An ideal heart is, above all, a loving heart.
The relationship between love and a healthy heart
It is true: love is one of the best medicines for the heart. In moments of affection, our heart rate increases to 135 beats per minute (pulse rate for adults is 75/80). Blood pressure increases, and blood circulation in all internal organs improves. – When there is no love, the heart “hurts” – literally and figuratively. Additionally to love it is also worth to do the following to keep a healthy heart: have a diet rich in vitamins, trace minerals, and omega acids; be positive; exercise and dedicate some time to our hobbies.
But back to love, research shows that when we have a partner, we can cope better with stress since we have the support of a loved one. Snuggling and holding hands releases oxytocin, which reduces the level of stress hormones in the body, lowers blood pressure, improves mood, and increases resistance to pain. On the other hand, keeping an unhappy relationship can correlate to the development of heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
It is undeniable that love can help to heal the heart. So what does your heart need? A pause? Peace? Or perhaps forgiveness? Reflecting on your own emotions and experiences is as important as a proper diet, exercising, and non-smoking. Feelings can hurt when you are out of control, suppressing them, or letting them flood you. The recipe for such states seems simple; the best prevention of cardiovascular diseases is love: to people, to yourself and to your own heart.