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Bring more “happy” into your life for a healthier heart

Smile…Your Heart Will Smile with You

Beauty may only be skin deep, but happiness apparently goes much deeper. A recent study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Center for Research Resources, discovered those with a positive outlook on life are more likely to have a healthier heart.

The study followed 5,000 individuals for 11 years and measured body mass index, cholesterol, blood pressure, and more to determine a subject’s heart health. Participants also completed surveys to measure self-reported levels of optimism and general mental health. Not only did those with a more optimistic outlook have better heart health, but they also had lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels and higher levels of physical activity.

So, how can you bring more “happy” into your life? Try a few of the following:

Let music soothe you: Listening to a song or even reading the song’s lyrics can boost your mood, feeling of connection to others, self-esteem, and optimism. A good tune may also put you in the mood to dance—an excellent way to get yourself to exercise daily.

Ditch the “To-do” list: Instead of weighing yourself down with thoughts of the tasks you must get accomplished the next day, try focusing on only three things about tomorrow you’re actually looking forward to doing. Do those three things first to ensure a good start to the day.
Weed out the bad: It’s often so easy to focus on bad events when they occur, but studies find that doing the opposite can improve your optimism. When things seem overwhelming, write down three things that went well that day as you prepare for bed. Think about the reasons those three things happened and you’ll begin to see the more positive side of your life.

Focus on small goals: We often lament the big goals we have yet to accomplish—losing 25 pounds or giving up soda or exercising daily. It takes time to accomplish such large goals. Instead, congratulate yourself for losing those first five ponds, limiting yourself to just one soda a day, or exercising three times per week.

Volunteer: In making someone else’s day better, you can make yourself a happier person. A recent report by United Healthcare and Volunteer Match found that volunteers are 72% more likely to characterize themselves as optimistic compared with non-volunteers. Contact local churches, schools, and community organizations to find a way to give back.
Recognizing and addressing ways to improve your health is an important step in preventing heart disease. CCHC encourages patients to become active participants in their own care and upping your optimism can certainly become an invaluable tool in the fight for a healthy heart.

If you have questions about the current state of your heart, call the caring providers of CCHC Heart and Vascular Specialists at 252-63-HEART (634-3278). Your heart will thank you.