The concept of self-love is just as important as love in the classic sense. Science is beginning to catch up to what poets and artists have been aiming to elucidate for centuries: Ideas such as “living with a broken heart,” “loving to your heart’s content” or “having your heart skip a beat” are all well-grounded in an ever-expanding and novel understanding of cardiovascular physiology.
We know, for example, that the grief of losing a significant person in life considerably increases heart attack risk[i]. We now have research validating the concepts of cardiovascular rhythm coherence (as measured by Heart Rate Variability Co
herence devices), where groups of patients were able to lower their blood pressure and risk of heart disease through the targeted power of positive intention[ii]. We know that physicians, arguably the most over-worked and stressed profession out there (and thus more at risk for cardiovascular disease), can lower their risk factors via biofeedback-based stress reduction tools[iii]. These concepts, foreign as they may seem to the stoically inclined western mind, are nothing new to traditional approaches to medicine, traditional cultures, or mystical religious traditions.