Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Simple Method To Improve Your Heart Health

This simple method to improve your heart health has nothing to do with exercise or a healthy diet. So, how do we improve our heart health?   

 By developing a positive psychological attitude that includes optimism, life satisfaction and happiness.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that the most optimistic people reduced their risk of a heart attack by 50%. This is in comparison to people who are less optimistic.

This is important since heart disease is still the leading cause of death in both men and women.

Not only do psychological assets like optimism and positive emotions slow the progression of cardiovascular diseases, but people with these positive thoughts tend to engage in healthier behaviors. These optimistic people tend to exercise, eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep. They also have lower blood pressures, a healthy blood fat profile and have a healthy body weight.

How can we develop a more positive attitude?

The first thing you should do is pay more attention to your thoughts. You may be thinking in negative terms without realizing it.

For example,
  • Instead of thinking that something has no chance of working, try believing that you can make it work. 
  • Instead of thinking that something can't be done because you have never done it before, think of it as a new opportunity to learn something new. 
  • Instead of thinking that you will never get better at some task, convince yourself to keep trying until you get it right.
I'll never forget the first time that I tried to make homemade bread. It came out of the oven as a white and very hard brick. I didn't give up though. It took me several years of trying, but I finally made a rather good looking and tasty loaf of bread. Now, several decades later, I have no idea how to make that hard brick that I made the first time.

 Next, try surrounding yourself with positive scents and sounds. This, of course is a personal choice. I like vanilla and LeAnn Rimes music.

Learn to laugh and have fun. I have gotten in a habit of laughing whenever I drop or break something. Getting mad never fixes anything.

It becomes easier to have a positive attitude if you surround yourself with positive people.

Lastly, consider meditation. You will not find a happier group of people than those who practice meditation on a daily basis. The trick is to think of one thing, like a word, a prayer or your breath for about 5 minutes. Then,
  1. Relax your body
  2. Pay attention to your breath as your belly rises to allow you to slowly breath in
  3. Let your belly slowly deflate to exhale, while still paying attention to your breath
  4. If your mind starts to wander, just bring it back to paying attention to your breathing
  5. Don't stop thinking. Just let your thoughts stay focused on your breathing or prayer.
  6. Do this for 5 minutes every day
If you consciously practice positive thinking every day, you will greatly improve your heart's health and you overall fitness.



Harvard School of Public Health: " Positive Feelings May Help Protect Cardiovascular Health "
CDC: " Leading Cause of Death "
Mayo Clinic: " Positive Thinking: Reduce stress by eliminating negative self-talk "
PsychCentral: " 15 Tips to Boost Your Well-Being and Happiness "
Emotional Toolkit: " The Meditative Arts "

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