Cardiovascular health includes your heart and circulatory system (think arteries, veins, and capillaries) which are in charge of blood flowing around the body working properly.
Cardiovascular disease however, which is the leading cause of death worldwide is when this system is impacted by negative lifestyle factors such as high stressed lifestyles, low nutrient dense food, and increased consumption of fast food. Think stroke, heart attacks, heart disease, high blood pressure…yikes!
Aside from increasing healthy and wholesome food consumption and implementing exercise, another treatment strategy could be on the cards.
Positive mental health activities such as making lists of what you are grateful for have been found to increase positive cardiovascular outcomes in both those with cardiovascular disease and those who are healthy. This means that practicing gratitude is associated with decreased inflammation in those with cardiovascular disease risk and can also be used as a preventative strategy.
It is thought to work through mental health mechanisms by reducing negative mental health stressors. Anxiety and depression are negative stressors which can increase cardiovascular disease risk. As a result of improving mental health, physical health often improves as the individual have more inclination to take part in physical activity, healthy eating practices and more positive sleeping patterns, all which have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease.
So, if you have been told you are at risk of or have cardiovascular disease, or if you simply want to prevent it - start jotting down 3 things you grateful for daily now!