How’s your heart? A few days from now, we’ll welcome the month of February. The month in which love is being celebrated. It is also a month that gives our hearts the feeling of blissfulness, excitement, and extreme joy. But, February is not just for romance. This is the month to focus on awareness and steps on how we can keep our hearts healthy as we celebrate American Heart Month.

The key to having a healthy heart is choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, managing your stress, and observing a balanced diet. Oftentimes, stress leads to poor health behaviors (overeating, unhealthy eating, decreased activity and smoking) which increases our risk for heart disease and stroke.

Chronic stress can also have a negative impact on our mental health. Many of these conditions contribute to increased body inflammation which can be linked to having high blood pressure and lowering our “good cholesterol.” 

Though stress is inevitable, there are several ways to manage physical and emotional stress properly, keeping our hearts happy and healthy. Physical stress is our body’s response to the demands and pressure of our everyday life. This includes aches and pains. Worry, fear, anger, sadness, and other emotions, on the other hand, are our responses to emotional stress which can also include physical symptoms. 

Here are some helpful tips to help you manage your physical and emotional stress? 

Let’s start with emotional stress.

1.Practice mindfulness and relaxation

  • Dedicate a certain time each day to focus on relaxation and understanding your mind and body connection. It is important to observe how our emotions affect our bodies. Try different stress-reducing techniques like deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, or meditation in order to find what helps you ind a sense of calm. 

2.Focus on something else

  • Stress is always around us. It’s OK to take breaks and instead of focusing on what’s causing you stress, distract your mind and attention by doing something fun or that brings you joy! This could be playing with your kids/grandkids, dancing, exercising, reading a book, or watching a movie.

3.Practice Meditation

  • Meditation can help us gain a new perspective about stressful situations, as well as, help us build our skills to manage stress. There are many great apps that can guide you through different meditations. Our favorite is the Insight Timer. Try meditation as a way to manage your emotions and reduce emotional stress. 

To manage physical stress, here are different exercises that can be helpful and are heart healthy.

1.Aerobic Exercise

  • Aerobic exercises improve circulation which results in lower blood pressure. Ideally, spending at least 30 minutes per day is suggested. It can be brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, or even jumping rope. 

2.Strength workouts

  • Strength training can help reduce fat and create leaner muscle mass. Research shows that a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance work may help raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. We recommend strength training at least 2 days a week.

3.MFR Therapy

  • MFR therapy helps both, physical and emotional stress. Myofascial release is an effective and gentle treatment that helps restore range of motion,release tension and bring a sense of peace and calm to the body. As we release the pain, we restore your body and release years of chronic pain caused by stress. Visit here to know more about our MFR sessions and how they can help you. 

Our heart is a critical organ in our bodies. Focusing on what can keep our hearts healthy is vital to our overall health and well-being. Help spread and share heart health awareness this heart month!