February is Heart Healthy month. Not only is it the month that chocolate heart boxes, heart-shaped balloons, and ‘heart’y candy grams overflow the grocery stores, it is also the month to promote health for our hearts. This alone is healthy. We have a month designated to eat foods that promote a healthy heart (healthy fats like avocados, raw nuts and seeds, vegetables (of course), fish oils, and getting a little Hawthorne Berry extract); we have 28 days dedicated to exercising our heart with cardiovascular workouts; and of course, February is the traditional month for cupid to launch his love arrow toward all the couples in the world. But as I prepare to begin a month of conscious heart care, I discovered some Unexpected Health insight…in love.
Most of us can relate to the feeling of being in love. We feel a greater sense of happiness, excitement. You could even say that our hearts feel bigger, beat stronger, when we are in love. But today, I learned that love is not a feeling, it’s a choice. And having choices in our lives is healthy.
We can have feelings of gratitude, appreciation, and dedication toward others. These feelings, along with a slew more, allow us to love another. It is the combination of these warm and fuzzy attributes that help us pick our partners, who we then choose to love. The most essential need we all have to give and receive is love, but it does not necessarily come in a heart-shaped box with See’s chocolates inside. To choose love, we choose to love those who may not give us the warm and fuzzies. In fact, if we choose to love, we are making a choice to love those who may downright annoy us. But a human’s greatest gift–the most healthFUL practice we have in our gym bag of life–is to love. It is good for our minds, good for our bodies, and definitely good for our hearts. So as February comes and goes, remember that the most health-promoting activity you can do requires no gym membership, no running shoes, and no Hawthorne Berry extract (although these are all very heart healthy too). For the next 28 days, when you see the heart-shaped overhaul, consider this a reminder to practice the most essential human gift we have…to love. -Until tomorrow, Jaime
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