By Jill Hollander, Guest Blogger
Four Ways to Say YES! To Heart Health. Today is World Heart Day, the annual recognition to increase awareness of heart disease and stroke worldwide. I learned from personal experience how important and necessary it is to take care of your heart. I was born with a congenital heart defect, have had two open heart surgeries, and a heart transplant. My life has shown me that we get to choose how we respond to every situation, even the challenging ones. We can choose to be bitter, or we can choose to do everything in our power to think and act in a way that will help us feel better, help us persevere, and rise up to our challenges!
Every day we are saying YES! Or NO to our heart health by:
- the thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, our situation, and the world in general.
- if we create systems and structures that support healthy habits.
- how we speak to ourselves and others.
- the foods that we eat or don’t eat.
- the exercise that we do or don’t do regularly.
How can you begin to take action toward creating a healthier lifestyle that promotes heart health? I know that taking back my sense of control even in situations that feel out of my control helps me to hope, cope, and deal. There are many ways that you can take control of your health and well-being and avoid a potential problem down the road.
Here are 4 things you can do from a holistic perspective (mind, body, spirit) to create healthy heart habits:
You can begin to shift your mindset. Shifting one’s mindset is one of the most important first steps in deciding to say YES! to heart health. Once you start to shift your mindset- you can begin to reframe your negative thoughts to ones that are more positive- you will have an easier time developing resiliency skills, developing willpower, determination, and perseverance to commit to creating a healthier lifestyle
You can start to ask yourself important questions, and find the “why” for you. Begin to ask yourself, why is taking care of my heart important for me? How can I be proactive in taking care of my health and well-being? How will this decision impact my loved ones? What will help motivate me to make this lifestyle change?
You can begin to take small steps in the direction of creating a healthier lifestyle by. Making small and consistent changes in reducing your stress, the foods that you eat, and increasing your activity level.
- You can learn more about stress relieving breathing techniques and/or meditation and/or yoga.
- Slowly increase the amount you exercise.
- Trade one unhealthy food for a healthier alternative.
You can reach out to a friend or family member for support. A great way to hold ourselves accountable to making a change in our lives is asking for support from our friends and family members. Create a buddy system and/or make these changes as a family.
World Heart Day is about what you can do to get, and keep, hearts healthy. The American Heart Association provides three specific ways you can protect the hearts that matter to you:
Learn CPR. During cardiac arrest, CPR can double or triple a person’s chances of survival if performed immediately. In fact, the Hands-Only CPR technique recommended by the American Heart Association can save lives and does not require the mouth-to-mouth breathing that many people associate with CPR.
Get A Flu Shot. As we face the potential “twindemic” of influenza and COVID-19, flu vaccination this year is more important than ever, particularly for those with underlying health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease.
Donate. Now more than ever, the American Heart Association needs your help to continue their core work fighting heart disease and stroke as it expands to confront COVID-19. Your gift today helps fund innovative research, CPR and cardiovascular care training for first responders, new breakthroughs such as the COVID-19 CVD Registry, and real community solutions for access to care, nutritious meals and daily financial relief.
Say YES! and create healthier heart habits! You’ve got this!
I will be sharing my heart journey at the Greater Northern NJ Heart Walk Digital Experience on October 25th. By joining the Greater Northern NJ Heart Walk, YOU are making a difference and saving lives. For more information and to register, visit www.GreaterNNJHeartWalk.org.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.
The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.