Physical Support 101 for a Healing Heart

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on June 10, 2015

I hope you’ve enjoyed the suggestions for books and songs to help a heart on the mend. Today I want to continue this short series by sharing some basic suggestions for ways to support your physical body while your heart heals. Today we look at Physical Support 101, and tomorrow I’ll share 201 to wrap up the series.

Our bodies are amazing creations with a level of cellular activity that makes downtown Dallas at rush hour seem like a lazy day in the park. So, a key to wellness is recognizing that we are miraculously multi-faceted beings, and suffering in one system affects every system. Dr. Judith Orloff says it this way in her book, Emotional Freedom:

“All emotions trigger biological reactions that shape your health just as distinctly as what you choose to eat or how you choose to exercise.” (p.34)

And, the doctor I’m currently working with (Karen Asbury, M.D.) believes that the four causes of physical illness are parasites, toxins, deficiencies, and … wait for it … emotional baggage. This means that, when your heart is hurting, one way to help it is to support the rest of your system. Quoting from Dr. Orloff again, “Stress is the enemy of emotional freedom.” So finding ways to minimize stress is vital to the healing process.

Here are five basic steps to reduce stress and support your physical body as your heart heals:

  1. Good Sleep

You don’t need a doctor to tell you this, but I’ll give you a quote from one to underscore the point. Dr. Orloff says that sleep is as precious to the body as oxygen, food, and water. Among other things, it recharges the part of your brain that controls your emotions, sharpens your ability to learn and remember, strengthens your immune system, and improves your general mood. (Emotional Freedom, p.62-63) We know this intuitively, but sometimes we forget just how important this is.

Diffusing essential oils in the bedroom can be a great way to set the mood for a peaceful night’s sleep. Others include going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, keeping screens (as in TV, iPad, phone) out of the bedroom, and sipping a cup of herbal tea to help you wind down at night.

  1. Gentle Exercise

We all know this, but in case you need some extra motivation, check out this article listing 13 ways that moderate exercise boosts mental health:

I mention “gentle” because when your body is recovering is not the time to try P90X, y’all. I’ve found walking, Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi to be excellent options for seasons when I’m not up for strenuous workouts. Any kind of exercise boosts the level of endorphins in our systems which, in turn, lifts our mood and lowers our feelings of stress.

At different times, I’ve really enjoyed jogging, either alone with my thoughts or with a friend. Check out this article to learn more about the health and mood benefits of running: 

  1. Vitamin D

“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy” is more than just a sappy lyric. Combine your sun time with exercise or, on days when it’s just not in you to move much, even sitting outside for a few minutes will help the healing that’s going on inside. Studies suggest that just 15 minutes in the sun (without sunscreen), 3 times a week may be enough. But, if you need to supplement, choose a combination of Vitamin D with a high quality fish oil. My favorite is Young Living’s OmegaGize. It seems that the body absorbs both the omega oils and the vitamin better in combination than separately.

For more on this, do a search for “Depression and Vitamin D Deficiency” and you’ll find a number of articles touching on the connections between these two things.

  1. Epsom Salt Baths

You can get magnesium in other ways, but I like the soaking method because it combines nutrition, detoxing, and relaxation.  How? Here’s an article on how a simple bath can do all that:

I was a fan of baths already, but in the last couple years I’ve made them a more regular priority. I like to add a cup of baking soda and 8-10 drops of Young Living essential oils to complement the health benefits of the salts. Blends like Joy, Valor, and Stress Away are some of my favorites for soothing every day cares and promoting a sense of calm!

  1. Skip the Chips and Pass the Smoothie

I know, I know: when your heart’s hurting it’s easy to reach for comfort food. But piling on the chocolate or the chips and queso or whatever feeds your guilty pleasure is not going to help you get better. In fact, the best thing you can do to support your emotional (and physical) health is to forego the carbs and reach for foods that are densely nutritious. I drink Young Living’s Ningxia Red antioxidant juice every day to be sure my body is getting the support it needs to maintain optimal health.

This article lists some foods that will support your system and help slough off toxins.

Speaking of toxins, many believe the gut holds the key to good health. You may want to consider a cleanse while your heart is healing. Inner Transformations Using Essential Oils by Dr. Leanne Deardeuff has been a super-helpful resource for me and I’ve found following her protocol useful in offloading emotional stress as well as physical toxins. Again, an online search for “benefits of detoxing” will yield all kind of information and suggestions.

Here’s a recipe for a healthy smoothie that’ll satisfy that urge to splurge:

The basics I’ve listed are good for anyone, but if you have a chronic condition layered on top of heart that’s still healing, you may need more than Physical Support 101. In tomorrow’s post I’ll share a list of 10 things I wish I had known when I started my wellness journey 15 years ago.

What are some basics you’ve found helpful?

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