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How the heart feels love_The Reputation of the heart.

Updated on February 25, 2009

Why is the heart associated with the feeling 'love' when in fact it's the brain that is responsible for all emotions?


In former days we were sure that our feelings came from our hearts. But through many publications these last decennia we know that feelings come from the brain. The part of the brain where we control our emotions and physical reactions of our body is the limbic cortex. This is why the limbic cortex is called the emotional brain. The neocortex is the rational and cognitive brain.

Bouncing bouncing

Bouncing heart

Shaky, listening

Deep feelings

Warmth flows

Happiness gets attention

Dreams dream

Questions rewarded

Feeling my bouncing heart

Listening to your voice

Cherish the deep feelings

The pleasant warmth

Of the attention happiness and affection

Bouncing bouncing bouncing heart

But often, when we are talking about emotions, you will hear about;

A broken heart,

something that makes the heart melt,

something goes to the heart, is close to the heart,

when you don't have the heart,

when you feel something from the bottom of your heart,

or when you wear your heart upon your sleeve.

So let's try to explain. Because it makes some sense in a way.

Our nervous system

The sympathetic nervous system is part of the nervous system that mostly deals with responses to external stimuli. This system is responsible for well-known feelings such as fear, restlessness, and general tension, but also love.

The parasympathetic nervous system deals mostly with relaxation. This part of our nervous system works best when we relax and is mostly responsible for repair and growth of body cells, assimilation, and building up of our reserves.

These two nervous systems function as communicating vessels and, normally speaking, should be in balance; a balance also known as homeostasis. The whole process is regulated by a gland called the hypothalamus, which is part of our limbic brains.

The nervous system regulates the things you don't need to think about and go fully automatic; breathing, your heartbeat, and digestion. It's like your nervous system has a brake and a gas pedal. When you feel positive emotions (like being in love) the two systems work just fine together but when you experience negative feelings (irritation, frustration, anger) it's like you try to brake and give some more gas at the same time. And like with a car, giving more gas and brake at the same time will cost more energy, more petrol and you overburden the engine and other parts. It will take so much energy of you, that you can't think clear and it influences your hormone system. You will have too much cortisol and adrenaline in your blood stream and too little anti aging hormones which keeps your body from getting diabetes, depression and fatigue. If you are over-activating by negative emotions it will take more to be able to feel relaxed. Cortisol and adrenaline are raging your system.

People who practice acupuncture say:

Too much anger damages the liver

Too much fear damages the kidneys

Too much sorrow damages the lungs

Too much thinking and worrying damages the spleen

Too much excitement damages the heart

Too much emotion damages the heart

Other sayings:

It's hard to tell your mind to stop loving someone, when your heart still does."

"Ask me how many times my heart has been broken and I will tell you to look in the sky and count the stars."

A heart breaking isn't always as loud as a bomb exploding.. Sometimes it can be as quiet as a feather falling.. And the most painful thing is, no one really hears it, except you.."

The heart is like a rose and the emotions are the thorns

The neurology of the heart

The cardiologist Andrew Armour discovered in 1994 that the heart has its own neutral system which ‘communicates' with and influences our brains. It's a small part of the brain but this small part gives more information to the rest of the brains than any other part. The information is sent to the part which controls the emotions and, depending on the information that's sent, we show our emotions and feelings.

Further scientific studies proved that emotions are faster and more powerful than thoughts. As it seemed, the heart responded earlier and sooner at stimuli than the brains. The heart in its turn communicates by its rhythm with the brains and has its influence on the biochemical en electric impulses in the body.

Emotions are connected with heart rhythm. If you are scared, nervous ore frustrated, your heartbeat will be irregular. An ECG will show high irregular curves. This often was showed with people during exams.

But when you feel confident, appreciated, loved and do the things you enjoy, the curves are more fluently and regular.

You'll feel harmonic, balanced because your sympathetic and parasympathetic system are working together and not against each other. You're not braking and giving more gas at the same time experiencing positive emotions.

"Emotions are closer to our physics than to the rational brain en because of that it's also is closer to our heart. So positive feelings like love will not only have a positive effect on the heart, but also on our emotional wellbeing and emotional wellbeing has a positive effect on our physical wellbeing"

Dying of a Broken Heart

It has been known for some time that emotional trauma and psychological stress can precipitate cardiac arrhythmia and sudden death through over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system, the system usually associated with "Fight or flight." It has also been known that people with preexisting heart disease are particularly at risk. This is one stereotype that is true: if someone with heart disease gets a bad shock, they may indeed die. It has been known for centuries that suffering a sudden unexpected bereavement can be a fatal stressor.

It is extremely important to understand how stress can affect the heart. Measuring the electrical activity of the brain and heart at the same time, they discovered at the regions of the brain responsible for learning, memory and emotion can destabilize the cardiac muscle of someone who already has heart disease. These areas of the brain can participate in a "vicious cycle" with the heart.

The researchers discovered that activity in "higher level" regions of the brain such as the cerebral cortex, not only reflected the responses of the heart to stress, but also became involved in a "feedback loop", often worsening the situation by making the heart muscle less stable.

The regions of the brain responsible for regulating heart function can be unbalanced by stress, and it can be fatal.

It is further evidence that there is a constant "conversation" between the heart and the brain.

It is also the best evidence to date that comprehensive care of people with heart disease must include stress management.

And why wait until it's too late?

Now is the time to start building your resilience to stress!

Richard G. Petty, MD


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    • profile image

      Danyon 3 years ago

      Super intafmorive writing; keep it up.

    • ashleyvanillilife profile image

      Elle Lewis 7 years ago from South East Asia Maritime Section - Phils

      This is very informative! Thanks for sharing :) Ash Vanilli

    • Lazur profile image

      Lazur 9 years ago from Netherlands

      You're welcome. I'm glad to know this is what you were searching for.

      You're right, it's almost like a relationship between a husband and wife.

      I'll look into the meaning of the shape, maybe for a new hub;)

    • ane fallarme profile image

      ane fallarme 9 years ago from Baguio City, Philippines

      just the type of answer i was looking for, thanks! i guess it's safe to say that although the brain gives all the orders, the heart has a say in all of it as well, it's like a husband and wife relationship...:) but what's up with the heart's shape?