A lot comes through my media and email with shockers like “number one killer” or ” this could kill you.” Yes death is a reality and even a fear. Matter of the heart are serious and, seriously, when your heart is cared for, it does much to amplify the quality of your life. What if we shift our focus to finding habits to enhance our heart health?
A lot of the following suggestions of physical habits are general preventative measures or maintenance. Everyone is different and a sit down with your doctor, nutritionist, health coach, etc for individual guidance is important. Especially if you are seeking treatment for heart or blood conditions. According to American Heart Association, the best heart diet is one full of fruit, veggies, whole grains (think ancient), lean meat, low fat dairy, and nuts. Across the board, for most this is a great guideline for any one. What any heart and food relationship needs restraints in are limited: saturated fat, red meat, sodium, sweets, and sugar sweetened beverages. Kick trans fat to the curb. Period. Why these guidelines? Fiber and Omegas found in many veggies, whole grains, and lean meats are important for gut thus heart function. Too much processed foods, sugar, fats can damage your gut, build up in blood vessels, then affect your heart. Your food relationship is your daily healer. Physical activity is important and looks different for everyone. The important thing is to find something you enjoy. There are lighter ends like Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Yin/Restorative Yoga to walking, Hatha Yoga, Pilates, biking, zumba, Refit, and more. If you want to run, run. If you want to box, box. If you like the gym and it holds you accountable, then make time for it. Take a class. Find an app or youtube at home. Find what you like and take limitations into account. I am rarely in the mood for the gym. Yoga in its many forms is my thing and other than an relished and occasional class due to time constraints, my practice is at home.
What you do for your physical health impacts your mental well being. Your mental care habits affect your body and heart. It’s a never ending circle to represent the whole you. There isn’t solid study evidence to date on the link of mental to heart health. Yet. However, many professionals support this link as found on heart.org. Prolonged stress effects many things from gut to brain to your heart. Since stress is a natural part of life and many times can’t be avoided, you need stress busters.
Ways to bust
- physical activity (two for one!)
- time with loved ones
- coloring/ creative activity
- play dough (its for adults too)
- water feature or sounds
- Essential oils: peppermint and lavender
- Practice mindfulness
- Practice or journal gratitude
- Breathing apps
- Self care: baths, massage, reiki, spa day, nails
- Find your limitations and stick with them. Yes is potent. No is potent. Listen to yourself to know when to use what and when.
- Community service
This isn’t a pick one and done list. And you have the freedom to rotate, pick a few, or pick many. Your inner voice and preferences are powerful. Listen to them and begin building those stress busting habits. Your food relationship, activity level, and mental care are essential for your heart health.
Your heart matters
I am not affiliated with above link to the American Heart Association. Their website is wonderful, check it out at Heart.org