Heart Health is More Than Just Physical Health

When most people think about their hearts they think about things like how hard it’s beating when they exercise, or what their doctor said at their last checkup. Both of those things are important, of course, along with countless other physical characteristics your heart might have. But the physical structure of your heart isn’t the only way its health is measured. How you view the world, how happy you are, and the connections you have with others can also affect the health of your heart.

Mind Health Matters for Your Heart

If you’re a typically happy person, says, Ian Weisberg, you may have a healthier heart than someone who’s generally negative. There are plenty of other factors to consider, of course, but happier people tend to have better heart health and cardiac outcomes than people who are depressed, anxious, or angry a lot of the time. Those emotions are hard to control sometimes, and they’re normal things to feel. If they’re your baseline, though, it may be time to cultivate more happiness in your life.

Laughter and Joy Can Lower Blood Pressure

When you laugh, smile, and find joy in life, your brain releases chemicals that help you relax. That slows your breathing and heart rate, brings your blood pressure down, and relieves tension in your muscles. It may also help stabilize your blood sugar and make it more likely for you to feel more energized or want to be more active. People who say that laughter is medicine really aren’t wrong, as many studies have shown that there are benefits to laughter, joy, and a happier mindset.

There are some really great reasons to laugh and be happy, so you can take good care of your heart for a long time, says Dr. Ian Weisberg. Laughing a lot doesn’t guarantee good heart health, of course, but it’s valuable to remember that all your body’s systems work together. Your heart is a lot more than just a muscle, and when you give it the extra help it needs, it can stay stronger and work better to increase your healthy years.

Your Heart Wants You to Be Happy

Technically, your heart can’t exactly want anything. It doesn’t have the power to think. But it does have the power to react to other changes in your body, including the chemicals your brain is putting into your bloodstream. If those chemicals are happy and relaxing your heart gets the benefit of them in the same way as other bodily systems do, and that can make it easier for your heart to do its job well for a longer period of time.

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