This article was written by Will Pike. Will is a life and health mentor, movement nut and blogger. He has published articles to The Doctify Journal, which is a Patient-Facing Medical Journal, where Doctors and health specialists write in-depth articles on the latest relevant healthcare topics in their field of expertise. Continue reading to find out how doing what you love can be beneficial for your health!
Why? Because love is what ultimately will bring you optimal health.
Not willpower. Nor having a perfect diet. Nor even exercising seven days a week.
No, my friend, it’s love – and connecting to your heart – that will give you access to a place of health, happiness and balance.
Let me show you why:
A new approach for health professionals
Dr Lissa Rankin, a sceptic doctor turned holistic health author, is currently campaigning to change the way health professionals approach their patients and their work. In her book Mind Over Medicine, she reviews a couple of decades of research on the placebo and nocebo effects, as well as the impact of our state of mind, way of life and environment on our health.
What she has found is remarkable: that the way we live our life, i.e. our happiness and our perceived fulfilment, have MORE impact on our health than food and movement. Also that illness and disease stem from putting our bodies in a constant state of stress.
The question is: where does this stress come from?
From heart to brain
The Institute of HeartMath has been studying our hearts (both the physical heart and the energetic heart) for nearly two decades, and have discovered something truly amazing: that our heart centres (located in the middle of your chest) contain infinite love and compassion for ourselves and everything around us, and that our minds are designed to plan, observe and make logical decisions.
Photo by PlayBuzz
Their research suggests that our negative emotions, our fears, insecurities and worries all stem from the disconnection between the two, and that in order to unlock long-term health and happiness we must learn to reach a state of “coherence”: when both mind and heart work in synergy. That is the state of flow that we have all experienced, for example when being with loved ones or working on creative projects.
However when our minds and hearts are disconnected, we experience a range of negative emotions including unhappiness and stress, in turn affecting our moods, cognitive abilities and memory.
So, putting the two bodies of research together, we can clearly see how disconnecting from our hearts – and NOT doing what we would love – plays a major role part in illness and disease.
Doing what you love is good for your health
Doing what you love is still seen by most of us as a luxury, as something we’ll do after we’ve paid our bills, settled down and have gone beyond survival mode.
However, as we’ve seen above, it is not simply a necessity, but a way to guarantee health and longevity – as well as true happiness.
The thing is, we’re all born knowing exactly what we love. Ask any child what they want to be and they’ll tell you in a second. They’ll express everything on their mind: the good emotions and the uncomfortable ones alike. And they spend their days in their imagination and creativity.
As we begin to grow up, we learn that we can’t always follow our hearts, and that it is in fact safer not to, in case we fail, get hurt, or are judged.
We learn to analyse and observe the world around us to determine what we want, instead of asking ourselves the eternal question: What do I love?
There are a number of tools to tap into your heart’s intelligence in order to understand what you love, here are a few questions you can ask yourself that will give you some clues as to what is in your heart.
- What did you enjoy as a child?
- What did you want to become when you were older?
- What do you struggle with most in your life (creativity, expression, exercise, health etc – our identities often struggle the most with what our hearts truly desire)?
- What lights you up and brightens up your day?
- Where in your life do you feel trapped, unexpressed or held back?
- Which activities bring you to a state of flow and harmony?
You’ll notice that when you begin to tap into your heart, it’ll begin to “ring true”: You’ll get a sense of knowing that you are on the right path.
The next step is to act on what you love, as often as possible. To do, as Mastin Kipp calls them, “Heart Reps”: where you choose to follow your heart instead of the limiting beliefs of your mind. Another way of seeing it is to “follow your bliss”: therein lies the secret to health and happiness.
Cover photo by Livestrong