World heart day - 5 Steps to a happier heart

Health TipsSeptember 29, 2022

The World Heart Federation (WHF) marks 29 September as World Heart Day – a campaign to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which the World Health Organization defines as “a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels, including coronary heart disease, congenital heart disease and deep vein thrombosis.”

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The campaign focuses on three pillars:

  1. awareness and access to treatment for heart disease,

  1. combating air pollution, which the WHF says is responsible for 25% of CVD deaths worldwide, and

  1. promoting a healthy lifestyle that minimizes psychological stress, which enhances heart health.


Healthy heart habits

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that “living a healthy lifestyle can help keep blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels normal and lowers the risk for heart disease and heart attack.”

It lists these healthy habits to maintain a healthy heart and lower CVD-associated risks.


  1. Healthy diet

Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts into your diet to promote a happy heart. The CDC suggests limiting “salt intake [and] ...saturated fat and trans-fat [which] may contribute to heart disease.”


  1. Move your body

Exercise “...can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.” For good heart health, the American Heart Association recommends adults spend 150 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity (e.g., brisk walking and cycling) per week.


  1. Cut out nicotine

Smoking significantly increases our risk of developing heart disease, warns the CDC. If you need help quitting, contact a medical professional for assistance.


  1. Lower stress levels

A WebMD article medically reviewed by cardiologist James Beckerman warns that prolonged unmanaged stress can negatively impact our heart health. Forming poor habits – like smoking – to manage our stress increases our risk of heart disease.

Instead, manage your stress better by forming healthy habits, such as relaxation techniques, exercising, and getting sufficient sleep, as these habits help lower the chances of developing heart disease.


  1. Stay connected

Loneliness and isolation are associated with a higher risk of heart disease. Harvard Review references a 2016 study published in the Heart journal, which found loneliness and isolation are associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease.

Stay in contact, network with new people, and try out new hobbies to help build connections with others. If feeling lonely or depressed, contact a professional mental health practitioner for further assistance.

Looking after your heart is essential for your overall well-being. Ensure to practice these healthy habits for a happy heart.



World Heart Foundation, (2022). Use Heart for Every Heart 

World Health Organization, (2021). Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)  

CDC, (2021). Prevent Heart Disease 
WebMD, (2021). Heart Disease and Stress 

Harvard Health Publishing, (2016). Loneliness has same risk as smoking for heart disease