The holidays are past and we are settling back into our normal routines. February is Heart Awareness month, so what better to focus on than healthy tips for a happy heart? In this article we will cover various topics including cooking for a healthy heart, coping with stress, and useful travel tips. By using these tips you can keep your heart healthy and enjoy yourself along the way!
The American Heart Association “Learn and Live” program offers these 4 simple techniques for managing stress.
Positive Self-talk. Positive self-talk can calm you down and decrease stress. Instead of saying negative things such as “I can’t”, “I never”, or similar negative comments, try changing them to “I can”, “I will”, or other positive statements. To get you started, here are some positive self talk statements you can make to yourself:
- “I can get help if I need it.”
- “Someday I will look back and laugh at this.”
- I can deal with this situation when I feel better.”
- “I am doing the best I can right now.”
Emergency Stress Stoppers. These can help you deal with stress on the spot, immediately, whether you are at home, on the road, in the car, or in public. Many of these tips we have heard before and they are tried and true. Want to know why? Because they work! For example, try counting to 10 (or even 20!), take 3-5 deep breaths, walk away from a situation that is causing you stress, apologize if you are wrong or make a mistake, and leave earlier to help you arrive places on time.
Finding Pleasure. When stress makes you feel bad, do something that makes you feel good. Doing things you enjoy naturally makes you better and helps you fight stress. Try to do one thing everyday that you enjoy whether it is reading, listening to music, cooking, watching TV, going for a walk, or taking a bubble bath. Making pleasurable activities part of your daily routine can significantly improve coping and reduce the stress you feel in your life.
Daily Relaxation. To really relieve stress, relaxation should calm the tension in your mind and your body. Some good forms of relaxation include yoga, tai chi, and meditation. Like most skills, relaxation takes practice but the benefits are lifelong and your heart, your mind, and your body will thank you!
Another approach to a healthy heart and reduced stress is through healthier cooking. Eating better will help reduce stress as well as be better for your heart. Some basic tips for healthier cooking include decreasing salt when cooking, steam, bake, broil, or grill instead of frying food, choose whole grains and beans, control your portion size, increase veggies and fruits, and enjoy fish more often.
Finally, let’s review some heart-smart tips for travelling.
Stay active! Stop along the way if possible and stretch your legs or make use of the exercise room at your hotel.
Eat well on your trip. Instead of stopping for fast food, pack a cooler with healthy treats and snacks.
Be prepared! Get referrals/information from your doctor for the area you will be visiting.
Be sure to bring your insurance card with you and contact your insurance carrier before you leave to get a list of covered providers at your destination.
Check to see if your regular pharmacy has a branch in the area you will be visiting.
By following the tips and techniques offered in this article we hope you will experience less stress, a healthier heart, and a happier life!
For more information, please call Excell Private Care at 405-639-3939.