Celebrate Your Heart: Four Pulsating Ways to Add Zing to Every String

By Marilynn Preston

January 29, 2019 5 min read

With Valentine's Day on your mind — candles at dinner, red silk undies, chocolate-covered anything — now's a good time to think about your heart.

Thump, thump, thump. Don't be distracted by the obvious rhyme. Focus! When your heart gets sick, so do you. When it stops, you drop. There are many reasons to take care of your heart — oh, the thousands of dollars you'll save! — but preventing an early death is the biggie.

This Valentine's Day, open up to another truth about your heart that never gets enough attention, especially from our busy doctors: It needs loving. Giving and receiving.

A healthy heart is a compassionate heart, a forgiving heart. There are things you can do — in meditation, in yoga, in spiritual centers of every sort — that can help you nourish the molecules of your emotional heart, keeping it pumped and playful and more prepared for the inevitable ups and downs of everyday life.

So open your heart to the following and see what zings your strings:

— MOVE MORE. You're heard it before, but who knows? Maybe this time, your neural pathways will deepen just enough to prompt you to finally decide to walk 40 minutes instead of 20 minutes or to layer another dance class into your week.

As most of my dear readers know, physical activity of any sort — running around the block, climbing the stairs at your office, playing wheelchair tennis — is an absolute must if you want to nurture a healthier heart. Bonus points if you do it outdoors, in nature.

Cardiovascular fitness — a measurably strong heart and healthy lungs — is a brilliant defense against heart disease. Ideally, you want to use aerobic sports, such as running and biking, to push your pulse into your target heart zone for at least 20 to 30 minutes a session, at least three times a week.

But don't be intimidated by such a demanding goal. Starting where you are this Valentine's Day, keep a journal, record your little victories and see how much better you feel Valentine's Day 2020.

— LET GO OF ANGER. Who pushed your button today? The driver who swerved into your bike lane because he was texting? The entire U.S. Congress?

It's so easy to get ticked off these days. But consider this: If you hold on to anger, it takes a toll on your heart. Feelings of anger, guilt, jealousy and envy are what brain scientists and psychologists call negative emotions, and over time, they can depress your immune system, drain your energy and weaken your heart.

So this Valentine's Day, find a healthy way to let go of your anger. Practice forgiveness. It's not a show of your approval of what he or she said or did. It's a show of strength and compassion that says, "I'm not your victim." You can't give yourself a sweeter valentine than that.

— EAT SMARTER. Extra pounds weigh heavily on your heart. To lighten your load — and prevent heart disease, diabetes and a parade of other ailments — you need to eat in an enlightened way.

Bouncing from diet to diet is a heartless way to live. Diets are all about denial and deprivation, and as soon as you stop, you're bound to regain the weight.

Out with the processed foods that bloat your belly and clog your innards! In with five seconds of label reading, checking for chemical additives and sugars you don't need or want.

This Valentine's Day, hold your hands over your heart and vow to consume real food, cleanly grown: more fruits and vegetables; healthy fats; less red meat; a lot less sugar. Of course, if your valentine happens to give you a box of dark chocolate truffles, compassion demands that you consume them — over weeks, one bite at a time.

— OPEN YOUR HEART. Your heart center is the emotional core of your body, and the more you open it to others — listening, laughing, helping out — the stronger and more connected it will be.

If you don't know where your heart center is located, start the hunt by volunteering at a local shelter, tutoring a youngster or cooking for the homeless.

If none of these activities spark joy at your heart center, email me for further directions.

ENERGY EXPRESS-O! MY VALENTINE'S WISH TO YOU

"Let your heart become so saturated with love that you are able to ride the waves of change with equipoise and find new meaning in everything that happens." — Swami Chidvilasananda (Gurumayi)

Marilynn Preston is the author of "Energy Express," America's longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new Amazon best-seller, "All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being," is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at creators.com/books/all-is-well to learn more. For more on personal well-being, visit www.MarilynnPreston.com.

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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