February is American Heart Month, and we keep hearing about new breakthroughs in heart research. For instance, researchers have discovered a clear physical link between emotions and heart health, finding that having either depression or anxiety may make it more likely that you will have a heart attack or heart failure in the future.

As a holistic physician, I know how negative emotions harm the heart and physical health. The heart is a second brain that greatly influences our health and well-being. Your heart generates 60 to 1,000 times more power and electromagnetic energy than your brain, easily making it the most powerful organ in your body. When you were in the womb, your heart was formed first, before your brain. Your heart beats about 100,000 times a day, 40 million times a year, and if its connection to your brain is severed, it will keep right on beating.

The heart has an elaborate nervous system, a discovery that has led to the creation of a branch of medicine called neurocardiology. The brain in your head is obeying messages sent by the brain in your heart. Your heart is constantly sending information to your body. Every beat carries critical messages that affect your emotional and physical health. When you feel love and affection for someone, your heart is sending a powerful electromagnetic signal to that person that will make your heartbeat detectable in their brain waves! The same beneficial effect occurs in your body when love and appreciation are broadcast toward you from another person. This phenomenon is strongest when two people are touching or are in close proximity but is measurable at a distance as well.

I’m not surprised that we are discovering clear links between anxiety, depression and heart disease. All of us at one time have experienced deep emotional hurt (heartache). If left unresolved, these negative emotions can become trapped in the body and cause anxiety, depression, phobias, panic attacks and other emotional problems that contribute to heart disease. Grief, hurt or loss can actually assault the deepest part of our being, our hearts. These feelings of heartbreak can be so uncomfortable, so difficult to deal with, that they often result in the formation of an energetic wall that surrounds the heart in an effort to protect it from these negative emotions.

I find that most people suffer from this disabling problem. Heart-Walls are present in cases of anxiety, phobias, panic attacks and eating disorders such as bulimia. Heart-Walls are implicated in the failure of many relationships, resulting in much loneliness and sadness.Depression, the leading cause of disability in American women, is another common side effect of trapped emotions.  By releasing trapped emotions and removing Heart-Walls, I’ve seen cases of severe depression eliminated, marriages saved, abuse stopped, lives turned around, loving relationships begun, better choices made, and peace restored. Profound and lasting changes occur when Heart-Walls are dismantled.

Is a wall around your heart contributing to physical illness or disease for you or a loved one? Is your Heart-Wall hampering your ability to give and receive love? Is it interfering with your ability to feel good emotions, or contributing to your feelings of isolation? Is it creating depression, anxiety or self-sabotage? Is it interfering with your ability to succeed?

The most important thing you can do to improve your health, your love life and your longevity is to remove your trapped emotions and get rid of the walls around your heart.

Your ‘emotional baggage’ actually consists of the energies of the intense emotions you have experienced that were left behind after traumatic or difficult events. Each emotion has its own energetic vibration or frequency of energy. Anger is a different frequency than frustration or grief. During times of emotional stress, the energy of the negative emotion that we experience can become trapped in the body. Trapped emotions are balls of energy, and wherever they lodge, they distort the normal energy field of the body, causing physical pain. Since these trapped emotions often cause physical pain, by releasing your trapped emotions, you will often release your pain as well.

In our experience, at least 90 percent of the physical pain that people experience is due to their trapped emotions from past arguments, losses, deaths in the family, betrayals of trust and broken relationships. When these trapped emotional energies are released, the pain dissipates—or disappears! Powerful healing occurs when they’re released.

What emotional baggage are you dragging around? How can you heal yourself from emotional wounds of the past? Most physical pain, disease and mental and emotional problems are rooted in emotional baggage from negative past experiences. Along with physical pain, these repressed emotions inhibit relationships and sabotage professional success. Many people fail to perform up to their ability because of the weight of the drag created by their emotional baggage.

To break the cycle of stress, become aware of unresolved emotions. These are responsible for guiding (or misguiding) your choices. For example, if you have a trapped emotion of anger, you’ll be more likely to become angry when future situations arise that upset you. Your body is already resonating with anger, and it’s just waiting for someone or something to light the fuse.

Listen to your body. Don’t volunteer to take on an additional task if it interferes with your health, your family or your stress level—it won’t be worth it.

Exercise daily. Find a way to work exercise into your day. Challenge yourself to do some sort of physical exercise every day, no matter what it is, or for how long you do it. Stick with it.

Eat right. When you go out to eat with friends, be prepared to tell stories so you talk more, and eat more slowly. Eat your salad first so you fill up on live food.

Take a breather. If you find people you are with are making you feel stressed, go outside to get some fresh air. Ask yourself if you’re overreacting. Recognize your feelings and analyze what the other person meant to say. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. If you aren’t sure, ask for clarification, then react with kindness, love and forgiveness.

Shrug off stress: Stress is also caused by nagging messages about unfinished business in the back of your mind that pop up at inopportune moments when you’re not in a position to act—commitments that you’ve made and not kept, people that you’ve yet to forgive, and looming deadlines.  Renegotiate commitments if needed, and don’t forget to plan your days.

Find peace through forgiveness: If someone has hurt or wronged you in some way, and you haven’t forgiven them, your stress level will naturally be higher. Strive for a state of acceptance and understanding, despite their negative behavior or difficult nature. And go easy on yourself too.

Overcome emotions that damage the immune system. Stress weakens the immune system. As you get rid of the unresolved emotional baggage from the past, you strengthen your immune system. Practice choosing more positive emotions when you feel resistance to situations that arise in your life. Strive to be at peace with the universe and with yourself.

Lose weight. A secret key to losing weight—and keeping it off—is to release your trapped emotions. To find the causes for overeating, identify triggers. You could be protecting yourself by being overweight. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, what plan do you need to make it happen?  Set a completion date. Break it into smaller milestones by month, week and day. The biggest reason for emotional eating is emotional baggage. When you get stressed, you tend to overeat. The next time you feel sadness, anger or frustration, remember that you have control over your emotional state. Emotions don’t choose you—you chose your emotions in every situation—and you can un-choose them.