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    Modern Life Takes a Toll on Our Hearts

    An expert describes antidotes to the heart-damaging lifestyle of today's stress-filled world.

    How can we stop this bath of hormones before it stops us?

    There are a couple of techniques that we can learn to help control our response to stress so that we don't fire off stress hormones. Breathe in for five seconds and breathe out for five seconds to get your body to start to calm down. This is a gift that you have with you all the time.

    You can also learn to control your response to stress through biofeedback or you can learn how to live in the moment with mindfulness. Biofeedback teaches people to use their mind to control body functions including muscle tension and heart rate. Mindfulness teaches you to stay in the moment, stay focused, be present, and not let your mind drift. Take just a few seconds to start doing deep breathing and then think about something that you love or appreciate. You will start to calm down.

    Any Valentine's Day prescription to help combat the effects of modern life on our hearts?

    Wake up and say, 'I will take responsibility for my health and well-being and ask myself the deeper questions.' There is nothing more important than health and family, and we take that for granted until we don't have them anymore. We need to get people back on track.

    Anything else?

    Turn off your BlackBerry and go for a walk.

    What is the most important thing we can do for our hearts?

    Remember that you are love -- and be love. When you become love, you stimulate hormones that lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, and reduce levels of stress hormones like cortisol.

    How can a person be love?

    Instead of looking to give love, just be love: Do something good for someone. The feeling you get when you see their face light up brings joy to your heart. Be grateful for your life and have gratitude for the gifts you have been given.

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    Reviewed on February 04, 2008

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