February is heart health month! This past Saturday, February 1st, was “Go Red Day” at the Mall of America. This annual event kicks off the month and features a fashion show, CPR training, a casting call opportunity for women to tell their personal stories, and more. It was a great day!
Here’s me volunteering at the American Heart Association table. Much of the heart health promotional material focuses on eating healthy and exercising. We have all heard these messages for years: eat well and exercise to be healthy. These simple messages are still true and they generally prevent about 80% of heart disease (according to AHA).
But heart disease is still the #1 killer of women.
I encourage you this month to think about your heart: the physical and emotional aspects of your heart. Although what we put in our bodies and whether or not we move our bodies are very significant factors in heart health, the other, sometimes overlooked aspect of heart health is our emotional and mental self.
What we think about controls how we feel. Positive thoughts create positive feelings. But negative thoughts and emotions, perseverating on hopelessness or helplessness over the long-term can negatively impact heart health. Chronic stress from negative thoughts and feelings can deplete the body’s ability to make hormones related to happiness. This can lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and digestive disorders to name a few.
This Friday is National Wear Red Day. Wear red in honor of your heart or the heart of someone you love!