“Stress is the key to understanding the association between depression and heart disease,” said Dr. Halaris. Stress takes a toll on our physical health, just like any other fatal disease, he says. Our system fights with it with all its might. It weakens our immune system and compromises our health by producing excess protein, cytokines, and hormones named cortisol. This inflammatory reaction slowly hardens the arteries contributing to heart diseases.
This clearly shows what a flustered mind can cost us. It also proves that one’s state of mind has an impact on his physical health and life. Although mental and physical health is treated as different, in reality, they are two parts of the same unit. A study shows that having a positive mindset or healthy thought process improves focus and reduces the threats of heart attacks and other fatal diseases.
Emotions can Stimulate the Feeling of Heartache
According to a study in Japan, any mental or physically stressful event can trigger cardiomyopathy, which feels like a trapped and broken heart. People having this may develop symptoms of a heart attack like chest pain or breathlessness; however, in reality, they don’t go through one. But it requires the same medication used to treat heart conditions. This may lead the patient towards bad ‘heart health’ if he does not maintain a healthy mental routine later. Just like physical exercises, mental exercises should also be a part of your exercise routine to avoid such health conditions.
Its clear impact on our body can be further realized by assessing the expressions like, trembling with fear, and freezing with a shock that we use while talking. Health is mostly dependent on the subtle thread called emotions that connect heart and mind. However, their impact on the mind is subtler yet powerful. If the toxic emotions are not released, the mind may feel like a devil’s workshop, as negative thoughts may take charge of it. Therefore, it is important to keep emotions in check to have a healthy body and mind.
Ways of Keeping Emotions in Check for Healthy Mind
Emotions shape your thought process. Therefore, it is important to keep them on the right track to lead a healthy lifestyle. Below are some emotion management techniques:
- Express, don’t Repress!
It is necessary and healthy to express your heart out. Irrespective of how positive or negative you feel, it is important to let it out. Keeping it inside may meddle with your thought process, which in turn may affect your health. Therefore, express it appropriately in front of your loved ones or someone trustworthy. Find your safe heaven!
- Simplify, instead of Complicating!
In life, food, shelter, and clothing are what we need to survive. Anything beyond this is not worth disturbing your mental health. Therefore, when in conflict, try to find happiness in simple and basic things. It detangles the thoughts and destresses the mind.
- Let it Go and Bounce Back!
Resilience can help you lead a healthy life. It keeps you functional and improves productivity. However, there are different methods that may help you bounce back from the place you are fixated, emotionally. The most popular method that the counselors suggest is CBT. In general, you can be resilient by being more open to change and more considerate about things around you.
- Work towards Relaxation!
Yes, to calm your nerves you have to make some conscious efforts on regular basis. Start with a breathing exercise or Yoga or Tai Chi, whichever suits you best. Just like the physical body, mental health needs to be in shape. This needs regular efforts and mental exercise. This will help you make better decisions and lead a more stable life.
- Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices!
It’s not just about food and physical exercise, releasing pent-up emotions is also a good ‘lifestyle’ choice. Similarly, staying away from toxic gossiping, energy-draining people, and having a positive attitude towards life in any situation, are also wonderful choices. These emotional choices will help you lead a mentally healthy life and make you a better person.
Healthy Mind makes Space for Healthy Habits and Healthy Heart
Preventing the heart from wrong is the key to keep it healthy and pumping. Reyzan Shali, MD, an internal medicine physician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Vista says, “Embracing heart healthy habits can make a huge difference. Heart disease risk falls significantly when people exercise regularly, maintain a balanced diet and healthy weight, control their blood pressure and get good quality sleep.”
And once we start making conscious choices for our emotional health, a lot of trash is thrown out of our minds creating unnecessary stress. Thus, a void is created which should be filled with positive thoughts and affirmations. Otherwise, weeds take no time to grow in an empty space. Therefore, being mindful is necessary. Having a positive attitude will lead you to a brighter and simpler life. But the first step towards such a life and healthy heart is a good lifestyle and healthy habits.
- Pump up the heart with exercise
The heart is a muscle that needs regular exercise to stay healthy. Regular 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic routine along with lightweight training will keep your heart strong and healthy.
- Food as a Medicine
Apart from acting as a fuel for our body, food also has medicinal properties. If you eat the right amount of dairy, fruits, veggies, and whole grains, your heart will beat with the happiness and stay healthy.
- Shed Extra Weight
Lingering kilos and pounds may hamper your heart health tremendously. It can give way to high cholesterol and sugar levels. Therefore, shedding those extra pounds and maintaining the weight afterward vigilantly can help you keep the heart attack at bay.
Keeping the above-stated points in mind and action can help you achieve your heart goals. However, the toughest roadblock during inculcating these habits maybe your thoughts. Therefore, maintaining good thought processes and dispelling negativity and stress are equally necessary while building health.
Employing Brain to Generate Good Thoughts
A study has found a connection between a healthy mind and enhanced health, people with a healthy mindset usually do not have unstable blood sugar, heart disease, thyroid, or weight issues. However, the studies have still not determined any mechanism behind it.
“While earlier research suggests an association between positive emotions and health, it doesn’t reveal the underlying mechanisms,” says Dr. Richard J. Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “To understand the mechanisms, I think it will be crucial to understand the underlying brain circuits.”
Through the process of brain imaging, it has been found that healthy or positive emotions activate the “reward” mechanism lying deep within the brain, in an area called the ventral striatum.
“Individuals who are able to savor positive emotions have lasting activation in the ventral striatum,” says Davidson. “The longer the activation lasts, the greater his or her feelings of well-being.” The longevity of this part’s activation is associated with healthy changes in lifestyle and decreased percentage of hormonal disbalance.
On the contrary, disturbing emotions trigger a particular region inside the brain called the amygdala that increases the emotion of fear and anxiety. A study has shown that the quicker the amygdala recovers after sensing the threat the better. Slow recovery of amygdala points out the less healthy brain that escalates the threat of fatal medical conditions.
Davidson says, “Research points to the importance of certain kinds of training that can alter brain circuits in a way that will promote positive responses.” “It led us to conclude that well-being can be considered as a life skill. If you practice, you can actually get better at it.”
And once we get better at it, we can make our body work for us. We can develop healthy habits that would reduce stress and improve our focus and function.
- You can develop healthy sleeping habits
Less stress keeps you away from insomnia, heart diseases, weight problems, and weak immunity. As a result of which you are safeguarded from exhaustion, expensive heart pumps, junk food, and allergies! This combo leads your physique to good shape and health to fitness.
- You can start having a healthy and nutritional diet
When you get enough sleep and feel less stressed, your junk food craving reduces, and you become more mindful while eating. You start consuming a balanced diet rich in fiber and nutrients. This tiny change becomes a habit when repeated continuously, and helps your body become strong and healthy.
- You can develop the habit of exercising regularly
A person with the right mind frame usually is conscious about his fitness. Along with food choices, lifestyle changes become your priority. You feel inspired and not depressed, which motivates you to exercise regularly. This reduces the threat of heart disease and the risk of increased cholesterol. In fact, it increases your happy hormones, which further inspires you to make better choices.
- You can avoid toxic habits
Life is uncertain, hence we need something certain to rely upon. People with anxiety and other mental problems are usually seen avoiding people, which is not healthy. On the contrary, mentally sound and healthy individuals are social and love to thrive in a community. Having strong emotional support from the community helps them avoid unhealthy addictions, develop healthier brain circuits, which prevents their body from internal harm.
- You can inculcate the importance of body positivity
With your heart and mind being in the right place, you avoid hurting others or yourself by body shaming. You understand that body changes with age. This deep understanding of life makes you mentally robust and physically healthy.
This shows that maintaining a positive mindset and following a healthy routine can reduce stress, resulting in normal sugar levels, BP levels, and cholesterol, which in turn keeps our hearts healthy.
Positive thoughts Lead us to Healthy Heart
Studies have shown that positive thoughts and healthy emotions lead to a healthy heart. Older adults, especially, need a positive environment around them to lead a healthy life. According to researches, older adults who are surrounded by positive people and have optimistic thoughts tend to have better heart health and a healthy cardiovascular system.
Emotional mindfulness and vitality are linked with cheerfulness, vivacity, and enthusiasm. People with these emotional qualities are at a lower risk of heart attack or stroke.
“Our minds and bodies are inseparable,” said David Goldfinger, the renowned psychologist of Cambridge. “Hope can heal cancer. Heart disease and depression commonly occur together. The brain is also an organ that controls and receives feedback from other organs like our heart, adrenals, and stomach. We can control a lot of our bodily functions by training our minds, which is one reason we think mindfulness and meditation can prevent and heal the damage of toxic stress.”
To Maintain Healthy Heart Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
All the aspects of life are interrelated, contrary to what we’re taught in schools. In real life, science and philosophy go hand in hand. Therefore, to remain healthy and fit you should follow a holistic approach. Instead of making fitness a goal, you should make it a part of your lifestyle.
- Exercise consistently
No need to hit the gym directly. You can swim, dance, play, or even do household chores like cleaning, grocery shopping to maintain an active lifestyle. Dedicating 30 minutes regularly towards it can help you improve your overall health. Also, it will help you look good. Therefore, regularity in this routine is as important as the routine itself.
If your body does not allow you to exercise regularly, you can do it four or fives times a week. However, consistency is a must.
- Eat wisely
This is the most important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Whenever you eat, be
mindful of it. Be conscious about what you eat, how much you eat it, and how often you
eat. Choose protein, fiber, and micronutrients over heart pump, asthma pump, and BP
machine. Avoid unhealthy fat, fast food, and too many sweets.
At the same time, don’t skip meals or eat too little. This will increase the craving and disturb your metabolism. Eating healthy meals regularly will positively impact your overall health and keep your BMI in check.
- Energy matters
Surrounding yourself with people having a positive mindset is important for both physical and mental well-being. If you don’t protect your energy, you may feel physically exhausted. This exhaustion may eventually lead to lethargy and unhealthy habits, resulting in bad physical health in the long run. Having encouraging friends and colleagues is directly proportional to your physical well-being. Therefore, chose your company wisely, and exercise precaution while dealing with negative people.
Maintenance of the Health you have Developed
Once you have successfully inculcated the above-stated mental and physical habits you have to maintain them to get the desired results. Maintenance of health needs consistency, willpower, and robustness. Below are the ways to improve your focus, consistency, and perseverance to get a healthier brain and focused mind.
- Employ creative techniques to strengthen focus
Productive life is a life well lived! However, there are many threats to productivity. The main threat or reason is a lack of focus. To improve it you can try the Promo do method; in which you work for 45 minutes followed by a break of 15 minutes. However, 45 minutes may be a little too much for many of us. In that case, you can break down the time span into shorter spans and then gradually increase it as you get comfortable with the arrangement.
- Avoid distractions
In the era of the internet when information keeps popping up every now and then, we tend to get distracted easily. Distraction reduces our time management skills and leads us to an unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore, it is important to keep distractions to the minimum to prevent our energy from futile drainage.
- Take conscious steps to improve willpower
Being mindful of the distractions and controlling the temptation of getting distracted can help you stay focused in the long run. You should be observant and take action when you feel you are getting deviated from your work. This will help in sticking to the work schedule and lead us towards a healthy lifestyle.
- Develop willpower through meditation
Starting your day with meditation can help you boost your attention-building ability. Just doing it 20 minutes a day consistently can do the trick. If you are unaware of it, you can simply start by focusing on your breath. It can change your life manifolds.
- Work on memory
Although memorizing stuff is frowned upon nowadays, practicing memorization can help you concentrate better. It is a way to increase your focus and willpower. Hence, to maintain your health you should memorize stuff on and off to enhance your concentration, which will improve your consistency.
Medical Aids you should Carry Against Possible Contingencies to lead a Smooth Life
Prevention is better than cure, but life can throw lemons at you anytime. Therefore, it is also necessary to be prepared for any emergency situation. You should always have a first aid kit and the following medical aids at home in case of emergencies:
It is basic, still determining body temperature is essential for any further treatment. Keeping it handy may lead us towards the right treatment in time.
- Blood Pressure Monitor
This may help you determine the actual position of the patient. If blood pressure is very high or low it is a reg flag and calls for immediate action. Secondly, if you already have low or high BP it will save unnecessary trips to the doctor.
In case of heart attacks or cardiac arrest, this device can help you restart the heart with the help of its electric pulse technology. Although this is not very popular, having it at home and knowing how to use it can be very useful!
- Orthopedic Heat Belt
From sprains to spasms it can handle anything for you. It may relieve your pain and help you endure it in a better way.
- Blood Glucose Meter
Just like a BP monitor, this meter helps diabetes patients keep track of their glucose levels. As these patients are supposed to keep regular track of their sugar levels, this device may save them from frequent visits to the doctor.
Summary of the discussion
Heart and mind are two sides of the same coin. The health of one is dependent on the other. If one is taken care of the other will automatically stay healthy. However, practicing mindfulness is better than being on auto mode. Making the right lifestyle choices can lead you to a healthy mind as well as body. What and how about the lifestyle choices is discussed in the above blog.
Nonetheless, prevention is not always the solution. Mental health is also about accepting the limitations. Thus, a straight-thinking adult will always understand that sometimes immediate help is required, especially in case of heart conditions. For such times keeping medical devices like defibrillators is essential.
Therefore, when it comes to heart health, maintain good mental health and be ready and prepared in case of contingencies.