Heart Health: Beyond Diet and Exercise Part 2 –But wait, there’s more!

In Part 1 of Heart Health, I spoke about how you can improve the choices in your diet. Now I am going to discuss the part that too often is glossed over, or completely left out. Perhaps you are told to “avoid stress”, but what does that really mean? Taking care of your mental health is as important as your physical health.

Not to over-simplify, but Bobby McFerrin had it right when he sang “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Managing stressors before falling into complete overwhelm is key.


Stress and sadness

In an article by Kathleen Doheny on webmd.com, she says that stress and sadness can actually cause a condition called “broken heart syndrome” or stress induced cardiomyopathy. The symptoms mimic a heart attack.

Cardiosmart.org reports that there’s a growing body of evidence that suggests optimism is associated with better heart health and lower risk for heart disease.

If you are stressed out just reading this, take heart (pun intended). You can start making small changes that lead to big results TODAY.


Change one thing, change everything!

You can make changes in your health by taking small steps, changing one thing at a time, one day at a time. Make your health a priority and get started today by doing something from the list below:

  • Take inventory of what you are putting in your body, keep a food journal (for just one week) so that you know what you are eating and then decide what you would like to change
  • Clear out your pantry and refrigerator, getting rid of the food that is not in line with your health goals-focus on what you CAN have rather than what you can’t and allow for treats, nobody stays forever in the land of restriction
  • Plan your meals, prep as much as you can, focus on simple and order your groceries online (you will stick to your list, save time and money)
  • Make time to move—figure out what you like to do, what or who will keep you accountable, and then DO IT! Put it on your calendar and honor it as if your life depended on it
  • On a scale of 1-10 figure out how stressed you are, and how often—then be honest about what stressors you can and can’t get rid of. If you can’t change something, you must change how you react to it
  • Simple steps you can take to manage stress could be practicing gratitude, prayer, meditation, deep breaths throughout your day, volunteering, getting outside, spending time with a friend, reading, listening to music or an inspirational podcast—whatever makes you feel calm, happy and positive
  • Find accountability with an individual or group—this is priceless and is not to be underestimated!

Shift your thoughts from “I can’t” and “I don’t have time” to “I can” and “I make time for what’s important”.  Take care of your whole self—your heart will thank you!


“The best investment you can make is in yourself” – Warren Buffett




Jennifer Viverette is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach. A Lincoln County resident since 2008, who loves the tight-knit community. Married for 21 years, with 3 cool kids, she loves to run, hike, and read. After spending over 20 years in Human Resources, Jennifer now enjoys helping people reach their goals in a different capacity. You can contact her at healthcoachjenv@gmail.com




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