Each February we focus on the importance of heart health, as cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United State and one of the leading causes in Canada.
We often hear about how our weight, blood pressure, diet, and activity levels can affect our heart health. But heart conditions are tied to emotional well-being, too.
While the links between the heart and the mind are not quite as measurable, there is plentiful evidence that suggests a happy mind equals a healthy heart. Paying attention to all aspects of our personal wellness promotes a healthy mind, body, and spirit!
According to the American Heart Journal, up to 15 percent of patients with cardiovascular disease have experienced major depression. Many people with heart conditions also suffer from anxiety.
One of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of depression and subsequent heart conditions is to surround ourselves with those who make us happy—these relationships can provide emotional support, physical and intellectual intimacy, and a sense of purpose.
They say married people tend to live longer, and these feelings are part of the reason why. For those who live alone, owning a pet and spending quality time with friends and family can bring many of these same benefits.
Other ways to reduce stress and promote emotional wellness include taking breaks to clear your head, getting regular exercise (good for the mind and body!), and sharing any early feelings of depression with a family member or your doctor.
Let the love in your heart keep you on the path to wellness this month!