February is American Heart Health Month, a dedicated time to highlight the importance of preventing and treating heart disease. Now that we’re on the other side of the pandemic, the American Heart Association has given American Heart Health Month an important theme: Reclaim Your Rhythm, which means to take back mental and physical health after two years that have significantly impacted the health of many.
We understand that health can mean different things to people depending upon where you’re at in this stage of your wellness journey. For instance, one person might prioritize healthy eating, while another might be focusing on exercising more often. However, sometimes it might be a matter of seeking out joy and prioritizing fun in your life. So, here are 15 habits for a happier heart!
If you’re not normally one for greeting strangers in the street, try it on for size! Even if you’re a little timid at first, making eye contact and sharing a friendly, “Hello!” or “Good
Morning!” with a stranger while out and about is a powerful connecting tool that helps us feel like we’re a part of a community, can open us up to new possibilities, and it just feels good!
There are loads of reasons to stay active. While longevity may top the list for most, the post-workout endorphin rush that leaves you beaming with joy and a surge of confidence cannot be denied. Find a form of fitness you truly enjoy and aim to do it for 30 minutes, five times each week.
Just as movement is important, so is relaxation and recovery. Whether you train your body intensely, or you’re simply just tense from the pressures of day-to-day life, it’s important to decompress. A great way to do just that is by booking a massage. A calm body equals a calm and happy heart!
You know how great it feels to laugh–everyone does!—and it’s been proven to relieve stress and tension and be a powerful mood booster. Seek out ways to get more real-life LOLs by watching more comedies, going to a comedy show, and spending more time with that friend who always has you in stitches. And for your next read, consider a funny book.
You don’t need to throw a party in order to dance. All you need is a few square feet of floor space and a great playlist to dance like nobody's watching. There’s a reason why dancing is innate and it’s one of the first things we learn to do even as infants, it makes us feel good! Dancing boosts positive emotions, reduces stress, and helps to alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression.
Many of us are creatures of habit and tend to do the same things day in and day out. However, trying something new is one of the best ways to get your adrenaline pumping and experience something truly exhilarating that will make your heart sing. Consider joining an improv class, a running group, volunteering your time to a worthy cause, or taking a cooking class.
Light some candles and allow yourself dedicated time to luxuriate in a soothing bubble bath with a new book, podcast, or audiobook. Simply sink into relaxation for an hour or so. You deserve it!
Small acts of kindness have a big impact. Not only are they contagious and help make the world a better place, but they also boost confidence, feelings of optimism, and they spread joy to both the giver and the receiver. Surprise someone with a small gift or send a “Thinking Of You” or “Thank You” card.
Sadly, we got away from hugging during Covid times, but hugs are back and the case for them is strong. Hugs have been scientifically tied to a ton of positive outcomes like pain relief, better heart health, and more happiness. So, grab a loved one and lay one on them!
Most of us spend too much time in front of computer screens and other devices. That’s why carving out time to get outside and spend time in nature is one of the best things we can do to make our hearts and brains happier. Researchers call it “forest bathing” and have found it to lower blood pressure and boost immunity and mental health.
Holding hands can feel like a direct link to someone’s heart. That’s because hand holding has been shown to sync brainwaves with the person you’re holding hands with. If you or the other person is in any kind of physical or emotional pain, holding hands has been shown to help with that too. So, don’t hesitate to extend a hand and spread healing and happiness whenever you can.
Make a list of all the places within driving distance that you haven’t been to and go on a spontaneous road trip with a friend, loved one, or totally solo – if you dare. Road trips feed the soul in many ways from having a chance to reflect on life, temporarily leave day-to-day worries behind, go on an adventure, see new places, and experience different cultures.
When was the last time you had an old-fashioned phone call for more than 10 minutes where you just sat back and gabbed with no end in sight? Make a phone date with an old friend or relative and clear some time in your schedule to just sit back, catch up, and make each other’s hearts happy.
The simple act of writing a list of things you’re grateful for is one of the most impactful things you can do to perk your heart up and change your whole perspective on things. Spend a few quiet minutes logging what you’re grateful for today and observe how you move through the rest of your day. We bet you’ll feel a little lighter!
If you have a pet, take a play break throughout the day to lift your spirits or get outside for a walk. If you don’t have pets, accompany a friend, neighbor, or family member to the dog park and experience the mood-elevating magic of being in the company of our furry friends.
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