Month: February 2021

February 2, 2021
Heart Centered Psychiatry, stress and high blood pressure, anxiety and heart damage, integrative medicine for heart health, fort collins

Have you listened to your heart lately?

Heart health has a direct correlation to our emotional, physical and spiritual health.

The events of the past year have been traumatic at best. There has been a level of collective grief and overwhelm experienced – in our homes, in our nation and across the world. Taking a pause to listen to our hearts feels like a luxury we cannot afford ourselves at this time.

Did you know that anxiety and overwhelm can actually cause damage to your heart?

According to the American Heart Association, mental health issues including anxiety and stress can impact blood pressure and heart rate and put individuals at an increased risk for heart disease.

Conversely, the American Psychological Association reports that mental health is positively associated with a healthy immune system and a reduced risk for heart disease.

In times of anxiety and overwhelm, how do we manage our hearts in a healthy way?

Sandra Fortson, a Social Worker and therapist at Wholeness Center, talks about the importance of responding to anxiety and overwhelm rather than reacting.

“Reacting to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm often involves the use of self-destructive coping strategies such as isolation, substance abuse, and taking our painful feelings out on others.

Failure to use healthy coping skills often serves to prolong these difficulties and lead to unnecessary long-term suffering. One common way to improve our ability to let go of emotional suffering and reduce reactivity is to practice mindfulness of our emotions. “

Here are tips to help you stay conscious of your heart in times of anxiety and overwhelm:

  • Observe your emotions – step back and just notice your emotion. Experience it as nothing more than a wave, coming and going, and imagine yourself surfing the emotion wave. Try not to block or suppress the emotion – don’t try to get rid of it, push it away, or amplify it.
  • Notice your bodily sensations – where in your body are you feeling emotional sensations? Experience these sensations as fully as you can and observe how long it takes before the emotion goes down.
  • Remember you are not your emotions – don’t necessarily act on your emotion; it may be helpful to remember times in which you felt different.
  • Practice loving your emotion – respect and radically accept your emotion as it is. Do your best not to judge it.

Being present emotionally, physically and spiritually is healthy for your heart.

Developing healthy distress tolerance skills helps us to accept and view our current environment without placing judgment on it or attempting to change it. in other words, we become more capable of responding to our environment rather than reacting.

It has never been more important to listen to what your heart is telling you about your levels of anxiety and overwhelm. 

Please contact the Wholeness Center if you have questions about integrative medicine, and/ or mental health alternatives. If you live in the Northern Colorado/ Ft. Collins area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs the Wholeness Center has to offer, please call 970-221-1106 or email

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