American Heart Month: My Hope for the Future & What I Learned From Losing My Mom to Heart Disease by Stephanie Cannoe
February is American Heart Month, which is awareness dedicated to heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths. We have all heard of the most common ways to live a healthy lifestyle and prevent heart disease, which include, managing stress, quitting smoking (if you are a smoker), regular exercise and annual visits to the doctor for checkups and a low-salt diet.
But what about the other factors?
My mom died at age 59 from heart disease and she did everything right. I guess she was one of the unlucky statistics. Making the genetic factor account for her death, even if you live a healthy lifestyle.
So where do we go from here? What about us?
What I learned from my mother’s early passing is that I need to take care of more than just my body and mind. Regular time spent in daily meditation, monthly massages (when possible), energy work, time in nature, vacations (staycations) and time spent with family and friends. I need to enjoy my life.
Managing stress is too late. At this point, stress has already become a problem. Our culture is overworked, sleep deprived and adding layer upon layer of in-your-face advertising about what we are not or what we are missing. This comparative emptiness triggers a lack of self-worth and a desire to fill it with something to be satisfied, whatever vice that may be, to feel like we’re measuring up. Making the to-do list much longer than the to-be list.
Sounds hopeless doesn’t it.
Here’s my hope for the future: the corporate world has an identity crisis and that the bottom-line stops driving our lives. Corporate culture and the latest buzz word "authenticity" stops being used to get people to fall in line with the corporate structure. If it is driven by ego and competition and money – it goes away. Our most-authentic selves are sacred and should be unique and encouraged. Not molded to fit the needs of a business or corporation and ultimately, its stockholders.
When we stop the madness, the madness stops, but we all must stop. See it for what it is. To envision another way. The entire model must change. The to-be list should drive the to-do list. We all have inherent worth. When balance is restored, then a healthy life mind, body and spirit is possible and can become a reality for us all.
My focus is on the heart chakra, which is another determinant of health and from this perspective the heart is the mediator between body and spirit and it directly determines your overall strength and health. The heart chakra, or Anahata, is connected to unconditional love and emotional power. At its core, this chakra propels us to enhance our emotional development. When in balance this energy center radiates happiness, compassion, joy and love and it allows us to feel sorrow, sadness and anger.
Perhaps if we can listen to this "voice" within our communities, we can move forward differently. This is the cultural shift needed. Individuals have mastered this balance, but until we do so collectively the shift will not occur culturally.
I have a dream.
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