The Wisdom of the Heart

The vast majority of cardiovascular disease begins in childhood and progresses very slowly. Many different factors influence whether or not it progresses. For example, it’s well documented that the presence of a pet lowers blood pressure and is relaxing. And listening to your thoughts and emotions, and acting on the tough ones, will have a long-term, profound, positive affect on your cardiovascular health, too.

Every Emotion is a Biochemical Reality in the Body

Behind every behavior–whether health-enhancing or health-destroying–there are emotions that are processed by the heart and entire cardiovascular system. And behind every emotion, there is a belief–a perception about reality. Thoughts and beliefs that support self-love and self-worth enhance health and well-being, and the lifestyle behaviors that support them. The more women truly care for themselves, the better their health is.

Emotions that we can’t deal with directly and elegantly go into our bodies and drive our behaviors, pure and simple.

The Heart Trumps the Intellect

It has taken me half a lifetime to know one thing for sure: The intellect exists to serve the wisdom of the heart. Our intellect-driven society, however, leads us to believe that it’s the other way around. And so we wait for the next drug or technological break through, thinking it will save us. But in the end, the wisdom of the heart will prevail.

All the drugs and technology in the world can’t mend a broken heart or heal someone whose heart is no longer in the game of life. Never forget that the EKG signal coming from the heart is 60 times stronger than the EEG signal from brain waves. So when there’s a conflict between the intellect and the heart, the heart always wins. And the only way to heal the true discomforts of the heart is to feel them fully, have faith in a power greater than yourself, and then live your life robustly.

My Prescription for Preventing and Healing Heart Disease

  • Understand that each heart is self-healing if given the space and permission to feel what it needs to feel.
  • Be willing to bravely and compassionately enter the unhealed places in our own hearts. When we’re on intimate terms with our own pain and suffering, and have made a commitment to heal them, we have far less difficulty keeping our hearts open to others. And our very presence becomes part of the healing as our patients realize that they are not alone–and not hopelessly flawed.
  • Know that it’s part of the Great Mystery why some people open their hearts to themselves and do the work of healing and others do not. Still, it is our job to fan the flames of hope and compassion, no matter how dim they may seem.
  • Rather than take on the impossible burden of thinking it is our job to heal others, we must also remember that the biggest gift we can give to another is a healed heart. And that is, and always will be, and something only you can do for yourself.

I hope this encourages you to trust your inner guidance system and to listen to your own heart. It will help you to live a more joyful and healthy life.
Learn More in The Wisdom of Menopause, by Christiane Northrup, M.D., Chapter 14, “Living with Heart, Passion, and Joy: How to Listen to and Love Your Midlife Heart.”

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.

© Christiane Northrup, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., a board-certified ob/gyn, is a visionary pioneer, beloved authority in women’s health and wellness, and the author of the ground breaking New York Times bestsellers Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause. Her third book, Mother-Daughter Wisdom, was voted Amazon’s #1 book of the 2005 (in two categories). Her latest books, The Secret Pleasures of Menopause and The Secret Pleasures of Menopause Playbook, teach how to experience joy, pleasure, prosperity, fulfillment, and vibrant health.

Following a 25-year career in both academic medicine and private practice, Dr. Northrup now devotes her time to helping women truly flourish on all levels through tapping into their inner wisdom.

Through her exclusive Women’s Wisdom Circle, Dr. Northrup shares cutting-edge medical and lifestyle advice. For more information about Dr. Northrup and her Wisdom Circle [] go to [].


Zee NoPetitions Kallah
.6 years ago

Long ago, I was young and naive. I'd dare just about anything.

Now, I am old. I have learned.

I need my brain to protect my heart.

Bonnie M.
Bonnie M8 years ago

What a great article, esp. these words: And the only way to heal the true discomforts of the heart is to feel them fully, have faith in a power greater than yourself, and then live your life robustly.

Healing starts within oneself, There is no healing unless the person wants to.Sadly, so many walk around in pain and are oblivious to their ability to heal if they but listen to their hearts.

Irina Brenner
Irina Brenner8 years ago

Our pets can have a positive effect on our health and immunesystem. I know that.
I hope all people find wisdom in their hearts
and children find as much friendship and
joy as there are birds flying in the sky

Irina Brenner
Irina Brenner8 years ago

We all know erotic love in connection with love of the heart and emotional intelligence and also charity . The longing between husband and wife,man and woman , between lover and beloved , bridegroom and bride, "Love is all you need " love allows us to heal and to live.

Irina Brenner
Irina Brenner8 years ago

Spirit of the west
Bring me wholeness,
and healing,
Spirit of the West,Spirit of the west
rouse my senses:
Let my heart hear the completeness of them all and be uplifted.

Irina Brenner
Irina Brenner8 years ago

A giving heart is`nt selvecentered.

sherrie e.
sherrie e8 years ago

Inner peace is my most prized possession these days. After living a hectic, roller coaster of a young life, at 50 I had to have an anchor. That anchor turned out to be inner peace. This was a great article with so many truths in it. I "wholeheartedly" agree with everything the doctor said!

Nona E.
Nona E8 years ago

Hold 'em, Fold 'em, Walk Away...trick is to know when. My "brick wall" experience came a few years ago when stress of trying to "hold on" was so extreme that I just wanted to fold into the fetal position and not move. I finally reached the firm (and healing) decision that I was willing to give up everything I owned (and perhaps people if necessary) to have peace. The result was that I lost nothing and no one. The change was within me, and my life is now richer and more fulfilling than it has ever been.

Bee Hive Lady
Fiona Ogilvie8 years ago

Opening myself to healing scares me. No matter how much I resolve to be open, I do not want to be vulnable. I am a hopeless candidate for self healing. I wish that this was not so, but it is.

KATE H8 years ago

I love the way you write - with wisdom and guidance, it sounds like you have consciousely been experiencing life learning much along the way and you are now kindly passing that knowledge to us, from the heart.