Connections Between the Heart and the Mind


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Connections Between the Heart and the Mind by R. Murali Krishna, M.D.

R. Murali Krishna, MD, DLFAPA, noted and well respected Oklahoma City psychiatrist, has recently published his first book, VIBRANT: To Heal and Be Whole - From India to Oklahoma City which he coauthored with Kelly Dyer Fry, president of news at OPUBCO. For more information visit

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Connections Between the Heart and the Mind

  1. 1. Dr. R. Murali Krishna, M.D. President and COO, INTEGRIS Mental Health and James L. Hall, Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit Connections Between the Heart and the Mind
  2. 2. Can your mind affect your heart? Picture this: You’ve come home from a hair-pulling, one-crisis-after-another day filled with deadlines, demands and stress. You walk into the house, hug your spouse, change into your most comfortable sweats and plop down in your easy chair to relax. As your day decelerates, your blood pressure drops and your heart rate slows. Or Picture this: You’ve fallen deeply in love, and you’re just about to meet the love of your life for dinner. You spot him across the restaurant, and the two of you begin to walk towards each other. With each step the anticipation and thrill you feel escalates, and your heart rate elevates right along with it. Each scenario above describes a situation in which thoughts affect the heart. We understand and accept that love, anger, fear and other emotions, particularly strongly felt emotions, affect the heart on a short-term basis. What’s less understood is that emotions and thoughts can have long-term effects on the health of the heart, too. Fortunately, pioneering medical researchers have been making the picture clear. At Duke University, researchers studied 107 patients with impaired blood flow to the heart, a condition which worsens the outlook for heart patients. The patients were divided into three groups. One group spent four months learning about stress management; another group undertook a four-month exercise program; and the third group received traditional heart care from their personal physicians. During the next three years, just three of the people in the stress management group had experienced a heart attack or required a heart bypass or angioplasty. But seven of the exercise group and 12 of the traditional care group experienced a heart attack or needed surgery. The conclusion: Reducing the stress in life can reduce the risk of heart problems. There’s more. A study conducted by Johns Hopkins of 2,000 people in Baltimore, showed that people with depression have 4-½ times higher risk of heart attack than people who are not depressed. Another study showed that after a first heart attack, “Type D” people – people who tend to become more easily distressed than others – had a 300 percent greater risk of having a second heart attack. And still another study, this one in 1995 of 232 patients at Dartmouth Medical School who had undergone elective heart surgery found the "very religious" were three times more likely to recover than those who were not.
  3. 3. The evidence is becoming more and more clear: What you think and feel can affect the health of your heart. What can you do to make sure your thoughts – and heart – are healthy? 1 Learn to recognize and deal with stress. Stress is part of all our lives, and the goal is to deal with it in a healthy manner. If your job is causing you stress in an uncomfortable way, you may need to change certain aspects of the job, change your attitude about the job or perhaps even jobs altogether. Life is full of choices, and you can decide to be a victim or master of them. 2 Find inner serenity and tranquility. Different people have different ways of centering themselves in a calm place – meditation, prayer, recreation, gardening, exercise, and solitude. Find what works for you and then make sure you find the time to pursue it. 3 Find spiritual fulfillment. If that involves belief in a higher power, so much the better, since research indicates that belief itself brings health benefits such as a stronger immune system and a heightened ability to cope with pain and distress. 4 Seek healthy relationships. We all need people with whom to share our hopes and dreams, people who will support us, people who care about our happiness and our place in the world. Those relationships have a tremendous calming effect on us, both physically and mentally. 5 Look for opportunities to serve others. Studies show that people who are happiest are more often those involved in helping others in some form or fashion. 6 View the world with a sense of humor. Where there’s humor, there’s laughter, and laughter relaxes muscles, lowers blood pressure and reduces levels of hormones that create stress and suppress immunity.
  4. 4. About the Author R. Murali Krishna, MD, DLFAPA is a psychiatric expert and pioneer in mind, body, spirit connection. His study of the brain has given him insight to the why of mental health and the how of living a healthy, vibrant life. Dr. Krishna’s mental health knowledge and experience is valuable and unique not only because of his extensive study and research of brain function, but also because of his true empathy. He has recently published his first book, VIBRANT: To Heal and Be Whole From India to Oklahoma City which he coauthored with Kelly Dyer Fry, president of news at OPUBCO. R. Murali Krishna, MD, DLFAPA Co-Founder & President, James L. Hall, Jr Center for Mind, Body and Spirit President & COO, INTEGRIS Mental Health President, Oklahoma State Board of Health Founding President, Health Alliance for the Uninsured Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Univ. of OK Health Sciences Center Dr. Krishna, an inspiring and engaging speaker, educates his audiences on the latest science in mental health and the healing power of the mind, body, spirit medicine connection. He is often interviewed by television and print news organizations for his expert opinion on mental and emotional health issues. For more information visit About the Book Dr. Krishna has recently published his first book, VIBRANT: To Heal and Be Whole From India to Oklahoma City which he coauthored with Kelly Dyer Fry, president of news at OPUBCO. In this book, Dr. Krishna shares his insights on human resilience and the power of living a vibrant life. He draws upon his own childhood experiences in India; coming to Oklahoma, his passion for helping people understand the importance of a mind, body, spirit connection; and his efforts to help people move forward following the tragic 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In this book Dr. Krishna reveals the secrets to living a vibrant life while overcoming: Anxiety Trauma Sleep dysfunction Stress Obesity Emotional dysfunction Depression Addiction Substance abuse Loss Anger Unresolved issues Relationship stress Mental illness Alcoholism