Your heart. It never rests. It beats billions of times over a lifetime. It is the most vital organ we have. It is a physical thing. When you give your heart it is an expression, a feeling. It is love. And when you do something with heart, it means digging deep inside yourself to do something in the best way possible.

My favorite month of the year is February because it is the month when the heart is front and center. Yes, we celebrate Valentine’s Day and the American Heart Association claims this month to teach us all about our tickers. But the heart is more than that to me. Marrying into the name of “Goodhart” has made me focus on the heart. Therefore, I would like to share my three versions of heart: Take Care of Your Heart, Have a Heart, and Do It with Heart.

You all know it. You all have heard it. Heart disease is the number one cause of death among women and men, yet it is something we can all control. When my blood pressure rose years ago, I began taking medication and realized I could deal with this problem. I worked hard to lose weight (a battle that never ends) by changing what I ate (more fruits and veggies, fried foods only on occasion, etc.), started waking up early to exercise, and watched my sodium and cholesterol. Reducing stress and adding “chill time” were also important. Soon, I was able to drop the blood pressure meds. Why is it so important to manage high blood pressure and cholesterol? They damage your vessels by clogging them. If you make just a few life changes, it will lower your chances of heart disease. Only you can control what goes into your body and how active you are, but during heart month, consider changing one lifestyle factor to take care of your heart.

Of course, having a heart or giving your heart is something I try to live by every day. It is not always easy. We get wrapped up in work, family, and commitments, and sometimes we forget how to be kind, to give a little bit of ourselves to the rest of the world. Just being kind and acknowledging others can change someone else’s bad day. Volunteering or donating to a cause that serves others shows you have a heart. Giving unconditional love to your family or friends or country without the expectation of a return or “what’s in it for me” will not only make you feel better, but can actually improve your physical heart.

Finally, doing something with heart is magical. Picking one thing, digging deep, and doing it with focus is beautiful for all of us to see and improves our own self-worth. When I see a ballerina, musician, athlete or even a child doing something with intensity, even if it is not perfect, it brings a tear to my eye. Doing something ourselves with that desire to be good and to always improve causes our own heart to beat faster and stronger.

So there you have it – Sue Goodhart’s prescription for celebrating the month of Heart. Wishing you a month of caring for your heart, giving your heart, and doing it all with heart. 

 

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