Wednesday, February 3, 2010

BJ Gallagher on Women's Heart Health

February is Heart Health Month. Self-care expert BJ Gallagher offers five simple ways to enhance women’s heart health … while having fun, too!

1. Jimmy Choo is not your friend. Neither are Dolce and Gabbana or Manolo Blahnik. Get some comfy shoes you can walk in – and an uplifting jogging bra and a cute outfit – then get moving! Start where you are … 5 minutes … 10 or 20 minutes … or 60 minutes. Time doesn’t matter – just do it.

2. It’s not what you’re eating – it’s what’s eating you. Those extra pounds you’re carrying are as much emotional baggage and physical. Deal with resentments then move on; resolve unfinished business; take care of old issues. Try journaling; work with a therapist; move beyond those toxic feelings. It’s the only way you’ll stop eating over emotional problems.

3. Laughter is inner jogging. It releases feel-good endorphins. Go for the guffaw or the giggle or the grin. Spend time with people who make you laugh. Rent and watch funny movies (with air-popped popcorn, of course). Watch hysterical YouTube clips. Go to the zoo and visit the monkeys.

4. Hug your dog or cat – often. Research has shown that stroking your pet’s fur is good for you – it actually lowers blood pressure better than ACE inhibitor drugs! So cuddle, stroke, pet and play with your furry, four-legged friend every chance you get. Who knows? It might even be good for the dogs and cats, too!

5. Call a friend. Research out of UCLA tells us that the old “fight or flight” response to stress is based on studies of men. Women respond very differently to stress – by “tending and befriending.” When the going gets tough, call a girlfriend for a good heart to heart … literally.

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