Heart disease is the the number one leading cause of death in women in the United States. This is a surprise to many women who think of heart disease as mostly a guy’s disease and who downplay this risk in their lives.
Our heart’s health is influenced by many things, some of them obvious like what we eat, our level of activity and stress and some of them less obvious like our thoughts patterns, our beliefs and how much joy we have in our lives.
The following steps will lead to creating a healthy life and a happy heart.
Healthy eating habits are one of the most important things in preventing heart disease. Start with small changes. Prepare things in advance. Make healthy choices easy and accessible.
~ Make fresh vegetables the main dish in most meals. A lot of us think of vegetables as a side dish on a plate filled with protein and carbs. Switch it up! Make vegetables the star of the meal and have smaller portions of everything else.
~ Go for high fiber. Besides vegetables, use high fiber whole, not processed grains and go for high fiber proteins like beans, lentils and chickpeas. Check out my guide and recipes for healthy grains by downloading my Grain Workshop.
~ Use heart healthy oils and fats in moderation. Include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and fatty fish like wild salmon are all good choices.
Exercise does not have to mean an hour at the gym, while that is a great thing to do, adopt the attitude that everything counts and increase your activity by:
~ Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
~ Take a dance break in your living room to your favorite song
~ Take a 5 minute stretch break
~ Find a 10 minute yoga class on YouTube
If you are a chronic worrier and stress over the little things you are greatly increasing your risk of heart disease. While stress is an avoidable part of life, how we react to it makes all he difference.
~ Practice meditation. Even 5 minutes a day will help to relax your nervous system and put things in perspective.
~ Choose your battles. While many things feel important and urgent, only a few of them actually are. Prioritize what is most important to you and let go of everything else.
~ Trust that life is taking care of you. Even if you are facing challenges and obstacles, look at them as your soul’s journey of growth.
Thoughts And Beliefs:
We are often not aware of the tape that is constantly playing in our head and the messages it gives us. Stop, listen and ask yourself: “are these the beliefs that I want to create my life?”
~ Write down some of your inner dialogue. Being aware of it is the first step.
~ Identify the beliefs and messages you give yourself. Do you believe that there is not enough? That good things don’t happen to you? That life is hard? That you are not worthy?
~ Create an affirmation that will take you in a positive direction.
Louise Hay says that the metaphysical cause of heart disease is a lack of joy and uses the following affirmation to create a healthy heart:
“My Heart Beats To The Rhythm Of Love.”
Infuse Your Life With Joy:
A happy and joyful life creates a healthy and happy heart. Think of the things that gave you joy when you were a child. As adults we often think of play and creativity as a waste of time but our hearts long for silliness, laughter, creativity and soul dances.
~ Paint! It is one of the most expressive and heart connecting things you can do. Use crayons, markers, water colors, acrylics, finger paint. Paint flowers, abstract color swirls, images, anything! Let your own creation come from your heart.
~ Have a date with yourself to do your favorite thing. Yes, that thing you thought was not important enough or that you did not have time for. Put it on your calendar now.
~ Make a JOY LIST, little tiny things that bring a smile to your heart. Every day check a few of them off.
Something that I often hear from clients is that heart disease and other conditions run in their family. What often runs in the family is the same patterns of eating, behaviors, thoughts and beliefs. As you make changes, as your changes get deeper, you will change your family history and create a healthier pattern for you and future generations.
Sending your heart a big hug.