Now more than ever, science and research unequivocally point to the powerful connection between our hearts and minds. Did you know that joy, optimism, positivity, and gratitude all affect heart health? In several studies out of Harvard and other universities, those that had a healthier mindset and practiced positive emotions had significantly reduced risk for heart attack, heart disease, and other heart conditions. In some studies, participants were HALF as likely to experience these conditions than their counterparts who were more pessimistic, negative, or cynical.
Up until recently, it was commonly believed that we could not change our mindset, feelings, or outlook. However, with advancements and studies in meditation, neuroplasticity, and cognitive theory, we now know this is not the case! We can actually increase mindfulness, nurture the positive, practice gratitude, choose empowering thoughts…all of which strengthen both our confidence and our hearts! In fact, sometimes just one practice a day can make the difference!
Review the list of practices below and see if any intrigue you. Integrating such practices into our day helps not only our heart but our whole life!
- Start meditating 5 minutes per day – try apps like CALM, Headspace, Centering Prayer, or Insight Timer to guide you
- Begin a gratitude journal – list 5-10 things each day that you truly appreciate and then savor/think on them for 3 minutes
- Find the positive – in the simple things each day – the sun on your face, the warmth of a cup of tea, the calmness of a deep breath, a good conversation, etc
- Choose powerful thoughts – in a given day, instead of focusing on what went wrong, get curious about what you can do now; see challenges as opportunities happening for you rather than problems happening to you
While any of these ideas may not be easy at first, they are definitely worth it! Over time, they work like compound interest, building up your psychological and physical resolve. Your heart and mind will thank you!