6 Simple steps to a happy, healthy heart

6 Simple steps to a happy, healthy heart

Heart health is really important, but it's not just about taking the right supplements. It's important to follow this emotional health advice, too

It is interesting how many people shun emotional health advice. They believe that heart health requires more serious steps: medication, supplements, rigorous diets, formal exercise regimes. But this isn’t the whole picture.

Research has confirmed the healing power of a positive attitude and a good laugh. A sense of spirituality can help as well. This is not alternative medicine or wishful thinking! Happiness does matter. The following six steps are essential to maintaining a happy, healthy heart.

1. Feed your soul

Woman laughing with child

Belief, whether in a higher being, the power of nature or even yourself, is both grounding and healthy. A big part of this is optimism. People who use words such as "joy" and "hope" to describe their attitudes towards life outlive their more pessimistic counterparts by a decade.

No matter what your situation, the power to do away with anger and embrace the good things in life lies in your hands.

2. Enjoy life

Some time between leaving our parents’ homes and signing up to a 25-year mortgage of our own, we stop having as much fun as we used to.

"People whose lives are filled with laughter are much less likely to have heart disease"

We all have serious adult responsibilities, but we also have a responsibility to our hearts to let go and have some childlike fun. Studies show that people whose lives are filled with laughter are much less likely to have heart disease.

3. Practise relaxing rituals

Woman doing yoga

As life gets more rushed, stress rises and heart disease follows. You can’t change the world, but you can change your response to it.

Daily rituals such as meditation, yoga, quiet time, bedtime relaxation and even just walking a dog can quell stress and reduce your risk of heart disease.

4. Drink a glass a day

Those who enjoy a glass of wine with dinner may lower their heart disease risk by up to 30 per cent. A small amount of alcohol enjoyed most days appears to be better than complete abstinence, and is certainly better than drinking too much.

"Those who enjoy a glass of wine with dinner may lower their heart disease risk by up to 30 per cent"

Interestingly, wine, especially red wine, seems to have a more beneficial effect than other alcoholic drinks.

5. Create a safe haven

Make your home a refuge for your heart. Create a soothing ambiance with fresh flowers and plants, music, a relaxing bedroom and some quiet space where you can go when you need to think. Spending most of your time relaxed instead of stressed can halve your heart disease risk.

6. Share yourself

Friends hanging out

Hearts are happiest and healthiest when they’re in the company of others. Don’t make your life so busy that you can’t make time for loved ones—whether they are your family or your friends, or both. Try to do some of the things you love with friends and family.

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