A positive mental attitude is good for your heart. It fends off depression, stress and anxiety, which can increase the risk of heart disease, says Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Mills specializes in disease processes and has been researching behavior and heart health for decades. He wondered if the very specific feeling of gratitude made a difference, too.
So he did a study. He recruited 186 men and women, average age 66, who already had some damage to their heart, either through years of sustained high blood pressure or as a result of heart attack or even an infection of the heart itself. They each filled out a standard questionnaire to rate how grateful they felt for the people, places or things in their lives.
It turned out the more grateful people were, the healthier they were. “They had less depressed mood, slept better and had more energy,” says Mills.
And when Mills did blood tests to measure inflammation, the body’s natural response to injury, or plaque buildup in the arteries, he found lower levels among those who were grateful — an indication of better heart health.
So Mills did a small follow-up study to look even more closely at gratitude. He tested 40 patients for heart disease and noted biological indications of heart disease such as inflammation and heart rhythm. Then he asked half of the patients to keep a journal most days of the week, and write about two or three things they were grateful for. People wrote about everything, from appreciating children to being grateful for spouses, friends, pets, travel, jobs and even good food.
After two months, Mills retested all 40 patients and found health benefits for the patients who wrote in their journals. Inflammation levels were reduced, and heart rhythm improved. And when he compared their heart disease risk before and after journal writing, there was a decrease in risk after two months of writing in their journals. Those results have been submitted to a journal, but aren’t yet published.
Mills isn’t sure exactly how gratitude helps the heart, but he thinks it’s because it reduces stress, a huge factor in heart disease.
“Taking the time to focus on what you are thankful for,” he says, “letting that sense of gratitude wash over you — this helps us manage and cope.”
It also helps keep our hearts healthy!
The Heart of Hope, a charitable foundation created by Mr. Rick Diamond, was designed to help those in need. Heart of Hope has created a Meal Token program which offer meals to those who are less fortunate in Surrey. This program needs volunteers on a daily basis at the Surrey Urban Mission – 10776 King George Blvd in Surrey from 6:40 – 10 am. Meal Token Program volunteers aim to create relationships with those who visit the takeout window. These giving individuals attempt to help visitors improve their lives by providing information about local services and programs. Clothing donation bins are located around the city with proceeds helping to keep the Meal Token program operating. Please visit http://heartofhopetokens.ca/ to purchase tokens and find contact information if you want to volunteer and contribute to a great cause!
A super warm, love-packed Happy Birthday is goin’ out to Justin Jackson today. Congratulations on your awesome milestone of 365 days back-to-back sobriety!!! We are proud of you and so grateful to have you on the team. Thanks for everything you do including the over and above stuff like fathering our mascot and posing for our event posters!! Justin You Rock!!!
LEST WE FORGET
While having our unconventional Remembrance Day family gathering today roasting marshmallows around a roaring fire under the cherry tree in my yard, I pondered how different Remembrance Day is now from when I was a child. The minute of silence standing at attention in our classrooms and John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields” poem memorized and recited in unison. Even at that young age, feeling like a part of the continuum that so many soldiers gave their lives to offer us. Today I’d like to carry on the tradition by posting that poem and hoping that those who read it feel blessed to have been gifted the freedom that we enjoy today.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Joseph Naaykens has been volunteering his time at TWC since completing a residential treatment program one month ago. Joe believes that helping others is fundamental in keeping himself clean and sober. He performs a variety of duties including picking up clients from detox and helping support staff with day-to-day client co-ordination. Joe is hoping that his volunteer efforts will transpire into a full-time support worker position. He finds it crucial to “stay in the middle” and benefits from the accountability and comradery that comes from helping out at TWC. Joe is also constantly working to improve and maintain the TWC Second Stage home he currently resides at. He enjoys being part of a team, being of service, and helping out TWC’s newest clients. He is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep himself clean and sober on a daily basis. Joe’s housemates enjoy his good nature and wholesome cooking and believe that the Second Stage home wouldn’t be the same if he wasn’t there. TWC is grateful for the continuing efforts of people like Joe who are willing to volunteer their time and help Together We Can offer the quality of treatment it is known for. Joe is continually grateful to have the opportunity to be involved with TWC.
VANCOUVER – Vancouver Coastal Health says it is developing a first-of-its-kind guideline as the health authority takes the lead in fighting opioid addictions. The guideline is aimed at improving physicians’ knowledge of the many new treatments available for addiction to painkillers, in hopes of stemming the growing problem of fentanyl or other opioid overdoses. Health authority spokesman Dr. Evan Wood says doctors are advised to begin treatment with a range of new, less toxic opioid replacements before trying methadone, which is effective but has many side effects. The guideline also underlines the importance of recovery programs, recommending that initial treatment is not complete if follow-up care is absent.
Addict advocacy group From Grief to Action applauds the recommendation, adding counselling supports are vital to recovery, especially if the patient is younger. A spokeswoman for the B.C. Association of Persons on Methadone also backs the new guideline, saying educating doctors about the multitude of options for addiction treatment is a great start because each patient requires a tailored approach.