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February is heart month. While I think it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heart disease, I believe it is crucial to not only prevent heart disease, but to help to improve our heart health, in a manner that include our mind, body, and spirit.

Holistic Heart Health

What does a holistic approach to heart health look like? It is one that engages on an ongoing basis those three elements. For example, we know that more heart attacks occur on Monday morning than any other time of the week, because of our perception of Monday morning. That means that our perceptions impact our hearts, in a most powerful way. In fact, we know that the heart’s rhythms sets the tone for the whole body (including the brain). Positive, uplifting emotions helps the heart to function optimally, while anger, fear, and other negative emotions do the opposite.

Engaging Your Mind

Most people don’t feel that they are in control of their emotions, because they seem to run of their own accord. But they don’t. We can take charge of them by paying close attention to them, and shifting our attention from the negative to more uplifting ones, reperceiving the situation, to one that is more empowering.

Affirmations, visualizations, deep breathing, journaling and other mind body techniques are very helpful and can help to strengthen your heart.

Spirit

While most people think of engaging their spirit as a part of their religious practice, it is that and more. For example we know that forgiveness is powerful, and protects the heart physiologically. A study of men who’d had a heart attack, when taught forgiveness techniques reduced their possibility of experiencing a second heart attack significantly when compared to a similar group of men who were not taught the forgiveness technique.

We also know that engaging our creativity, volunteering (giving to others), prayer, meditation all promote heart health.

Physical

While exercise is good, we know that being in nature is beneficial. Japanese scientists have discovered that trees and plants release chemicals that actually improves the functioning of our cells. Research has also found that exercising with awareness of its benefits, also produces greater physical results!

For more information about improving your heart health:

The Other Side of Cholesterol
Do You Know How To Keep Your Heart Healthy Using Holistic Healing Techniques? 
US Study Finds Major Depression Linked to Heart Disease / Recurrent Major Depression Predicts Progression of Coronary Calcification in Healthy Women
More on Heart Disease and Diet

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