Should You Really Listen To Your Heart?

“The heart has reasons which reason knows nothing of.”

-Blaise Pascal

The gut is often referred to as your “second brain” giving rise to the saying, “trust your gut”. In addition, the heart could be considered our “third brain”, again, giving rise to the saying “listen to your heart”.

Perhaps that is what Blaise Pascal was alluding to above.  The heart has reasons, which reason, knows nothing of.  Damn, that’s powerful.

However, back in the 17th Century, there was no way that Mr. Pascal could have actually proven this, but for some reason, poets, writers, and even a mathematician sensed the complexity of the heart and how’s it is able to make it’s own decisions.

A Lover’s Dilemma

The struggle between the head and the heart has been the foundation to many a romantic tragedy since the beginning of the beginning.  Not being able to control who you love has plagued even the most rational amongst us.  The heart wants what the heart wants, and sometimes, there’s no stopping it.

Oftentimes, the brain will say one thing, and the heart, another.  And now that technology has caught up with what Blaise Pascal was saying, we actually have evidence that the heart, really can think on it’s own, giving more reason why you should listen to it.

There is a growing field of research called neurocardiology and psychophysiology that has shown that the heart has its own intrinsic nervous system that operates and processes information independently of the brain or central nervous system. Meaning, at times, the heart can make it’s own decisions.

According to the HeartMath Institute:

The heart’s nervous system contains around 40,000 neurons, called sensory neurites, which detect circulating hormones and neurochemicals and sense heart rate and pressure information. Hormonal, chemical, rate and pressure information is translated into neurological impulses by the heart’s nervous system and sent from the heart to the brain through several afferent (flowing to the brain) pathways.

In regular words, this means that the heart is able to detect changes in the body because it has it’s own network of nerves, and thus, it is able to relay this messages to the brain.  To simplify it even more, the heart can actually tell the brain what to do.

However, the brain has this little thing called the ego, which tends to get in the way of what the heart is trying to tell it.  Even though the heart may be telling the brain what’s the best choice, the ego can get a little argumentative and contradict the heart’s desires.

The ego concerns itself with wants and desires, with have’s, and have not’s:

I have a job.

I have a house.

I want a fancy car.

I want a hot boyfriend.

These are all very egotistical desires in life, and although there is nothing inherintely “bad” about these things, these are not desires of the heart.

What happens though, is the heart is usually saying one thing, but the ego puts up a pretty good argument, thus creating internal conflict within us.

To put it into context, take the movie The Notebook.  Our leading lady is struggling with choosing between two men:

The rugged, unpolished love of her life vs. The rich, pretty boy who she “thinks” she loves.

We see it again between Jack and Rose in the Titanic, and between Ross and Rachel in Friends, and the list goes on and on.

What Happens When Head and Heart Don’t Agree

As we’ve seen in the movies above, when the head and the heart don’t agree, we’re faced with a whole lotta drama.  Lots of crying, lots of doubting, lots of anger, frustration and resentment, meaning a whole lotta stress.

And you know what happens when you’re experiencing a whole lotta stress? A whole lotta health issues, like weight gain, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

However, when can let go of our ego, (aka if you can open your mind) and lead with your heart instead, internal conflict cannot exist.  It just isn’t possible.

So why should you really listen to your heart?

Because if you follow your heart, and don’t let your head (ego) get in the way, you avoid a whole lotta unnecessary drama, you avoid a whole lotta stress, and thus, you avoid a whole lotta unnecessary sickness.

I strongly believe that true health is a state in which your head, your heart and your body are in true alignment.

The picture below from FreelanceLifeCalendar sums up why we should listen to our hearts pretty nicely:

Listen To Your Heart and Find Your Life’s Purpose

Most of the time, its the head (ego) that gets in the way of our heart’s most burning desires.  And it’s within these desires that our life’s purpose is found.  And by listening and leading with our “third” brain, we can not only achieve true health, but also fulfill our life’s purpose.

There’s a reason why the heart has it’s own set of nerves and it’s own regulatory system.  It was designed to communicate with our brain brain, to give it the directions of our life.  When we allow our brain to override these signals from the heart, we will eventually find ourselves steering away from our heart’s desires, and leading us down paths that are not authentic or in alignment with our life’s purpose.

Living in alignment with your heart, and leading with the heart first and foremost makes life so much easier, and would have spared made Rachel McAdams a whole lotta heartache…but then again, there wouldn’t have been that much of a movie…

Photo credits from: P-e-p-p-i 

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