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Keeping Your Heart Happy!

It may be an age old symbol of emotion, but everyone knows that the human heart is really nothing more than a pump. Or is it?

Special - Keeping Your Heart Happy
New research suggests a direct link between your state of mind and the state of your heart. Your heart is the organ that keeps the system in your body running efficiently through its constant supply of oxygenated blood and elimination of carbon dioxide, and it is affected when there is heart disorder or complication.

A growing body of clinical research seems to confirm what poets and songwriters have long proclaimed. There is real and direct link between our hearts and minds. Or to put it in the language of the white coated figure: psychosocial factors may present stronger risks for acute myocardial infarction than diabetes, smoking, hypertension and obesity. Which means that stress at work or home, along with your perceived ability to cope with life, can significantly increase your risk of heart disease. The mortality rate in heart failure patients with major depression is two and a half times higher than in heart patients without depression.

Depression Hurts The Heart

Yet depression in heart failure patients often goes undiagnosed. This is partly because of the overlap in the symptoms of the two conditions such as fatigue, loss of energy, poor appetite and sleep disturbance, and partly because many patients see depression as a character weakness or personality flaw, when it’s really a common clinical condition that affects as many as one out of five patients with heart disease. If you’re depressed or anxious, you are more likely to develop a cardiovascular problem. How, exactly?

A heart attack is caused by a blocked blood vessel to the heart, and depression is one of the known contributors to the development of such a blockage. Inside the blood vessels we find the lumen, where the blood is able to flow. Factors such as smoking, high cholesterol and depression can cause fatty deposits to accumulate on the wall, forming a plaque that juts into the lumen. If this plaque becomes damaged or ruptured, your body’s repair system shoots to the rescue, building a blood clot to patch up the gash.

But the clot also seals off the artery’s lumen, blocking the blood flow and leading to possible bypass surgery. Depression is a risk factor for heart disease, but heart disease is also a cause of depression. When your heart is heavy, you are likely to drink, smoke and eat the wrong things. Heart failure patients should be screened for depression and treated when depression is found to be present.

But it is not only up to the doctors. We all need to learn how to make our hearts happy. The heart is an easy organ to please. It all begins with proper exercise and nutrition and an innovative, enthusiastic lifestyle.

8 habits to keep your heart ticking happily!

1 Cultivate joy and positivity in your life for you mental and emotional well-being to help keep your heart at its best condition.

2 Eat wisely and moderately. Eat more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. Include salmon in your diet as it contains omega-3 that benefits the heart. Soy protein is also a healthy-heart food alternative to help prevent cardiovascular diseases.

3 Spend time doing activities that bring you a sense of satisfaction and contentment: Listen to music that soothes and uplifts your spirits. Enjoy natural beauty in art or nature. Watch movies that make you laugh. Start dancing. Read.

4 Exercise regularly and moderately. Brisk walking is an excellent exercise for everyone, and an ideal walk can be up to 30 minutes in duration. The key in making sure your heart gets the best through exercise that it needs is routine.

5 Eat Chocolate! Opt for real dark chocolate as it is beneficial to the heart. A study has found that eating dark chocolate seems to make the blood vessels more flexible. But remember, too much chocolate isn’t good either!

6 Get a pet! Stroking your pet regularly can help relieve stress and heart problems, according to research. Walking a dog will help you get your regular 30 minutes exercise a day.

7 Have a laugh or join a group of laugh therapy! Whether it is a little giggle with your friends or a bellow from deep within, having a laugh may help you avoid heart disease, according to scientists.

8 Do community work! Helping others find happiness can boost your heart, too!

Love your heart. Do not postpone these simple heart-sustaining-appointments to keep it happy and healthy.

Suggested readings if you want to know more about this topic:

✤ Stella’s Mum Gets Her Groove Back – A True Story (available in Bookstores in Singapore)

✤  One Minute for Yourself – Spenser Johnson M.D.

✤    The Hurting Heart – Dr. Lim Yun Chin –
(Armour Publishing – Singapore)

    (Understanding the importance of our emotions when building a positive frame of mind and nurturing happiness in our hearts)

Elisabetta Franzoso is the author of Stella’s Mum Gets Her Groove Back – A True Story. She is also a Public Speaker, WellBeing Coach, Communication Trainer and Managing Director of InsideOutYou Coaching & Training. She regularly conducts 1-to-3-day Communication and Wellbeing Public Workshops at NUS Extension, Singapore Institute of Management and Convivo Pte Ltd ( Log on to or, or call 9621 3858 or 6465 4605 for more information.
Posted by ezyhealth on Sep 13 2011. Filed under Mental Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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