Be Happy! A happy heart is a healthy heart.
It turns out that worry, anxiety, stress, and aggressive anger are bad for your heart. Of particular interest was a study in 1975 that indicated that "social worry" was most damaging of the various types of worrying that people engage in.
Social worry consists of fretting over political, environmental, economic conditions, and other people. Also, stressing over health, finances, self-image, and aging proved bad for the heart, as well. Most of us worry about at least one of these issues at least some of the time!
Aggressive or hostile anger also proved to be damaging to the heart. This kind of anger raises cholesterol levels.
How does one have a happy heart?
Following is some good advice that comes out of the study and from "happy heart" experts - doctors, psychologists, councelors, wise folks, and spiritual leaders.
1. Foster meaningful relationships. Love and be loved.
2. Be a good listener and an empathetic listener.
3. Reduce stress! Recommendations here are avoid overworking, getting adequate sleep (at least eight hours), eating nutritional foods, reduce or eliminate stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine which increase the fight or flight response and make people more irritable. Smoking, coffee, and alcohol weaken the heart and make it beat faster.
4. Exercise. Oh heck, we all knew this one was coming! Seriously though, walking, running, gardening, yoga, tai chi...anything that gets the body moving will help to reduce stress.
5. Stress reductions techniques...meditation, deep breathing. And my favorite...a great massage! Ahhhh...feel that tension slip away!
6. Acceptance of things one cannot change, saving your energy - mental, emotional, and physical - for things that you can change for the better.
7. Accept yourself. As you are. Imperfect. Human. We're all on a learning curve.
8. Be accepting of others. Follow the Golden Rule. Be tolerant, polite, civil, kind.
9. Be grateful. Instead of tallying up a running list of what's wrong, focus on what's right. Count your blessings, name them one by one. You'll begin to feel better right away. All of us have something to be grateful for!
These simple, Soul-restorative practices will help to develop a happy heart.