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February: Celebrating Our Hearts

February 18, 2016


“My heart hurts when I have strong feelings”, my teenage old son lamented, just the other day. I empathized, certainly, but also was thinking to myself, “how wonderful that he’s made the mind-body connection!”  Who of us has not experienced the physical pain of a broken heart?  And who doesn’t know someone who is certain they’ve experienced a heart attack, only to find out that their symptoms are of severe panic and anxiety?  And, of course, the ultimate heartbreak of the spouse who dies of a broken heart, following the death of his partner?

Hopefully we can also share those times when we can say, “My heart sings!”, “My heart is full!” or “You touch my very heart!” Whose heart doesn’t actually skip a beat or two when we encounter someone we’d like to let into our heart?

Vista Hill SmartCare states in our brochure to aim to “help you bring body, mind and spirit together for a better life”.  This is at the crux of our mission, and exactly why we are partnered with rural health clinics. We recognize and appreciate even more, after six years of our partnerships, how interconnected and inter-related physical and behavioral health issues are.  In fact, almost nowhere is the mind-body connection more apparent than in the link between mental health and heart health.

February is American Heart Health Month, and so we use this opportunity to promote not only heart health, but also emotional heart health, through Random Acts of Kindness Day as well as celebrating Valentine’s Day.

If not encouraged by their primary care providers, many of our patients wouldn’t have sought out support for their issues and concerns. And whether seeking support for smoking cessation or alcohol use, diabetes or weight management, depression or anxiety, relationship issues, bereavement, cancer, or other issues, encouraging a “whole heart” approach is widely received and appreciated.

A “whole heart” approach encompasses both a healthy physical heart, by encouraging physical activity, healthy eating and other healthy lifestyle choices, as well as encouraging emotional self- care through increasing support networks and socialization, identifying strengths, and incorporating affirmations.

Additionally, as presented here previously, we encourage and promote mindfulness in numerous ways, as we have found that mindfulness activities support and improve both physical and emotional health, (true heart health) in ways that are easily incorporated in almost every setting, and by our patients of all ages and backgrounds. We incorporate mindfulness into wellness activities and events, including our Art and Yoga events and parenting curricula.  And we continually find new ways to incorporate mindfulness into individual interventions, to include issues such as lowering blood pressure or weight, decreasing smoking, improving sleep, increasing mood and of course, decreasing stress and anxiety.

We wish you a healthy heart – mind, body and soul – this month and always.

Pamela Sachs, LCSW



One Comment leave one →
  1. capple32 permalink
    February 19, 2016 9:05 pm

    Gentle reminder about mental and physical connections.

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