- Beth Chiodo RD, LDN, CWC
Gratitude for Heart Health
Begin Each Day with a Grateful Heart
February was heart health month, but keeping our hearts healthy is a task that continues all year round! We know that stress can affect various factors that contribute to heart disease, which makes it more important than ever to manage stress in our daily lives.
Feeling or expressing gratitude is one way to effectively manage stress and feel happier. Expressing gratitude can also help decrease stress-related illnesses and decrease blood pressure. It can also help to decrease stress hormones in the body.
What exactly is gratitude? Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful. It’s readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Here are a couple simple ways to cultivate more gratitude in your own life:
Tell someone in your life that you appreciate them or something they did for you.
Take notice of the small things around you that are beautiful (birds chirping, the sound of running water, new flower buds in the spring)
Start a gratitude journal. Each day, write down 3 things you are grateful for. When you are feeling down, review the things you wrote. This trains your brain to focus on the positive and can decrease negativity.
Give at least one compliment daily by complimenting a person or by sharing your appreciation of something ("I love how quiet it is in the morning, don’t you?").
When you find yourself in a bad situation ask: What can I learn? When I look back on this, without emotion, what will I be grateful for?
Notice the ways that cultivating gratitude may change your life and how you experience your surroundings. Begin each day with a grateful heart to have a healthy and happy heart.