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Ways to destress and have a healthy heart

The alarm rings, waking you up from a slumber and forcing you to start the day. How do you start your day? Do you meditate? Do you practice yoga? Do you shower? Do you grab a cup of coffee and read the morning paper? What is your morning routine? There is no right answer to this because everyone has a different wake-up agenda. But have you noticed that your wake-up agenda may affect how you go about the rest of your day? If you have a good morning, chances are nothing “small” will bother you. Sure, life throws us curveballs every now and then, but waking up refreshed certainly helps. And, have you noticed that if you wake up and the day doesn’t start off as well as you’d like, it seems like your entire day is a drag?

Life today has many stressors — getting the kids ready for school; getting to work; doing a job well done; leave work; help kids with homework; make dinner; and then most often than not … sporting events at night. At some point bills have to be paid, food has to be purchased and mountains of laundry must be washed and folded (eh, sometimes not even folded am I right?)

During the month of February, I am trying to find ways to destress, take care of my heart and I want to pass those ideas off to all of you. This week, my favorite information comes from a Harvard Healthy University article that can be found here, but here are the ways they say can help you destress:Breaking the connection requires both learning to deal with stress and managing unhealthy habits. These five simple tips can help you do just that.

  1. Stay positive. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.
  2. Meditate. This practice of inward-focused thought and deep breathing has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. Meditation’s close relatives, yoga and prayer, can also relax the mind and body.
  3. Exercise. Every time you are physically active, whether you take a walk or play tennis, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only helps you destress, it also protects against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your heart muscle, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Unplug. It’s impossible to escape stress when it follows you everywhere. Cut the cord. Avoid emails and TV news. Take time each day — even if it’s for just 10 or 15 minutes — to escape from the world.
  5. Find ways to destress. Simple things, like a warm bath, listening to music, or spending time on a favorite hobby, can give you a much-needed break from the stressors in your life.

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