14 Feb Gratitude and Healthy Hearts in Chicago
While healthy lifestyle choices will vary greatly among Chicago employees, there is one thing that everyone should be concerned about—their heart. February is American Heart Month. It’s a good time to consider current and/or adopt new, healthy habits that will help prevent heart disease.
Following a heart healthy diet is one habit that can help fight cardiovascular diseases. Rather than trying to strictly follow a specific diet that feels very restricting, it’s important to consider the overall pattern of one’s eating habits. Enjoying a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, low-fat protein sources like chicken and fish, nuts and legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils is a great way to provide the body with the minerals and nutrients it needs.
Consistently moving or exercising is another habit that benefits heart health. The American Heart Association recommends that Chicago adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. That’s 2.5 hours of exercise per week, or 30 minutes a day for five of the seven days each week. Resistance or strength training should also be added at least twice a week.
In addition to choosing healthy snacks, beverages and food and exercising, being aware of decisions that impact one’s mental health is also important. Practicing gratitude is beneficial for many different parts of Chicago employees’ lives including their mental health, personal and professional relationships and physical health.
An individual’s mental health can be impacted by many things including stress, which increases adrenaline and cortisol levels. That increase triggers a rise in the rate of breathing, the heart rate and blood pressure. Not only can these reactions contribute to heart disease (i.e. high blood pressure), but there are also mental health related biological and chemical factors that may play a role too.
Barry Jacobs, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and director of Behavioral Sciences at the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program recently explained, “The head-heart connection should be on everyone’s radar. It’s not just being unhappy. It’s having biochemical changes that predispose people to have other health problems, including heart problems.”
Developing a practice of gratitude can be healthy for everyone. Whether at work or at home, practicing gratitude builds relationships. At Chicago businesses, gratitude can be practiced on multiple levels such as between coworkers or between management and employees. When an organization regularly practices gratitude, motivation and productivity can sky-rocket. Below are five simple ways employees and employers can express gratitude while at work.
- Make it specific: Be sure to clearly express the reason why. Saying thank you without a specific why just doesn’t have the same effect.
- Show gratitude consistently: Make sure to express gratitude to those who consistently perform as well as those who go above and beyond. No one wants to feel unappreciated.
- Send thank you notes: A handwritten and specific thank you note is always appropriate.
- Lead by example: Create a company culture that values recognition. When employers actively express and show appreciation, gratitude can grow.
- Understand what employees want: Which benefits do your Chicago employees really value? Understanding the answer and acting on it is a great way to express gratitude for all that your employees do.
A welcoming break room that offers delicious and healthy snacks, beverages and fresh food as well as office coffee service is a benefit that employees want. Yami Fresh can help your organization customize the perfect refreshment menu and create an inviting break room space. For more information, please contact us at 847.423.2448.