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8 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Having a Heart Attack

8 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Having a Heart Attack

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    It may surprise you to know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men as well as women. About 250,000 American men, and about the same number of American women, die from this disease every year. A heart attack can strike without you even knowing that you have heart disease, so reduce your risk of having a heart attack by practicing these eight healthy habits.

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    1. Don’t start smoking, and if you already do, stop. The unhealthy habit of puffing on cigarettes damages body organs, and the heart is one of them. Smoking also causes plaque buildup and narrowing of the arteries, which causes coronary heart disease, or CHD. It contributes to peripheral artery disease, or PAD, as well. CHD and PAD raise your risk for a heart attack.
    1. Monitor your blood pressure because high blood pressure, or hypertension, can raise your risk for heart disease and lead to a heart attack. Take special care to keep your blood pressure low if you are overweight. If hypertension runs in your family, watch your blood pressure. Also, avoid eating too much salt. Take medication if your blood pressure is high and you cannot lower it on your own. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg.
    1. Eat for the health of your heart. Consume leafy greens and fruits, low-fat meat and poultry, nuts and seeds, soybeans, beans, and healthy oils like olive oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and canola oil. Stay away from foods that contain saturated fat, trans fat, and a lot of carbohydrates and sugar. Develop a low carb meal plan to prevent diabetes, since diabetes raises the risk for a heart attack. Also avoid drinking too much alcohol.
    1. Tame your anger. Anger is a major cause of stress, and stress brought about by anger has been known to cause heart attacks. Sometimes people resort to consuming an abundance of food, alcohol, or cigarettes to combat stress. Since all of these actions contribute to heart disease, it’s obvious that stress should be avoided at all costs. To reduce your stress level, exercise, engage in relaxing therapies, and cultivate strong relationships.
    1. Stay active to reduce your risk of having a heart attack. Keep moving to keep blood pressure and cholesterol low too. Regular exercise can also protect you from diabetes, and being active on a regular basis will help keep your weight under control.
    1. Lose weight if you are obese. Excess body fat raises your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. A body mass index that ranges from 18.5 to 24.9 is desirable, and you can check yours using a BMI calculator. You can also check to see if you are overweight by measuring the size of your waist. Women who have a waist that exceeds 35 inches are considered overweight. Overweight men have a waist that exceeds 40 inches.
    1. Eat heart healthy when dining out. When you are not the one preparing the food you eat, you don’t know if your food is heart healthy or not. To find out what’s in the dish you are ordering and about to consume, simply ask your waitress. If it is a dish that is made with a lot of butter, which is high in saturated fat, order something else.
    1. Keep bad cholesterol at bay to prevent a buildup of plaque in the arteries that can cause a heart attack. Read all the labels on the foods you eat to see how much cholesterol these foods contain. Make sure your cholesterol level is below 200 mg/dL. If it is higher than that, talk to your doctor about lowering it.

    These eight simple steps can save your life. They are easy to follow and worth the effort. Don’t wait to start practicing these heart-friendly habits.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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