How to live a happy life with a heart condition

If you take a look around the cardiology department of a hospital sometime, you probably won’t see a lot of smiling faces. People aren’t there to find out their heart is full of vitality and good health. The world isn’t in demand for cardiologists for no reason. Heart disease and other heart conditions are continually on the rise. It can be difficult to move on with life following the diagnosis of a heart condition or a catastrophic event like a heart attack. People often worry that they must live in fear of something else happening and their heart giving out on them. Given that heart disease alone causes a quarter of all deaths in this country each year, their fears aren’t unwarranted.

Moving On

So, how does someone just move forward from an event like a stroke or heart attack without allowing that fear to paralyze them? How do they convince themselves it’s going to be okay when the science says it might not be? What about the changes they have to make in their lives? Their new low-sodium red meat-free diet may be a constant reminder of what happened to them. How can they overlook that every time they sit down to eat a salad wishing it was a cheeseburger?

The answer is actually pretty simple. Rather than fighting back against what has happened, patients with heart conditions should be encouraged to embrace their experience. In general, life flows much more smoothly when we walk with the grain rather than against it. Trying to ignore something that will likely be brought to our attention throughout every day of our lives is a recipe for unhappiness. Instead, look for the positives.

What are the positives?

At first glance, it may seem like there couldn’t be anything positive or beneficial that would stem from someone having a heart attack. Let’s examine what a heart attack really means. It means they haven’t been taking care of their body. They let their health fall to the wayside and the heart attack was merely the warning sign. They were fortunate to have survived it and now they should practice being thankful that they were given such a warning and not resentful that they must make changes because of it.

After all, those changes should have been implemented long before things got so out of hand. That being said, there’s no reason to bully ourselves or beat yourself up for not doing something sooner. When you know better, you do better. Now is the time to empower yourself with knowledge about your condition and the best preventative measures that can be taken to keep things in check.

Take a daily multivitamin. Meditate. Go to therapy if you need it. Consume methylfolate to keep homocysteine levels down and thus keep blood pressure in a healthy range. Avoid foods and other substances that could contribute to the worsening of your given condition. Consider it a blessing in disguise that this was brought to your attention so that you have the chance to change it before it’s too late. Living with a heart condition isn’t a life sentence to unhappiness. It is all about perspective.

Cite this page: Danielle Bosley, "How to live a happy life with a heart condition," in PsychologyDictionary.org, January 30, 2017, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/how-to-live-a-happy-life-with-a-heart-condition/ (accessed January 20, 2019).
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