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OPINION: The attitude of gratitude

Kevin Holten, executive producer of "Special Cowboy Moments" on RFD-TV, discusses Patrick Henry and the origination of liberty.

KEVINHOLTEN.jpeg
Kevin Holten, pictured above, is the executive producer of "Special Cowboy Moments" on RFD-TV. (Submitted Photo)

How well are you taking care of your heart? Are you eating, exercising, and sleeping properly? And are you doing your best to eliminate stress as much as you can?

For example, do you go to the airport early so that you aren’t in a state of panic and end up sprinting towards your departure gate every time you fly? Planning ahead can certainly eliminate a lot of needless stress.

After all, your heart is the big workhorse in your body and it’s one of those things that you can’t live without. And yes, there is always the possibility of a heart transplant. But that might be one of those medical miracles that you’ll find it best to avoid.

In fact, did you know that your heart beats about 100,000 times and pumps about 2000 gallons of blood a day? You might also find it interesting to note that the heart works twice as hard as the leg muscles of a sprinter, your aorta is as large as a garden hose, and there are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body. Plus, some of your capillaries are 10 times smaller than a human hair.

Meanwhile, it’s a fact that most heart attacks occur on a Monday, when you worry about the upcoming week. And you may have been told that when you sneeze it stops your heart briefly, but that’s not true.

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More importantly, if you’re a horse lover, did you know that your horse can mimic your heart rate? That’s the reason why you don’t want to be or act nervous around your horse or any horse for that matter, especially if you’re riding broncs in rodeo.

And yet, one has to wonder, why is the heart so closely associated with love?

For example, Greek philosophers linked the heart to our strongest emotions, including love. Plato argued for the dominant role of the chest in love and in negative emotions of fear, anger, rage and pain. Aristotle expanded the role of the heart even further, granting it supremacy in all human processes.

And why do we draw the heart in the shape that we do? After all, that’s not really the shape of the human heart.

The most unusual theory concerns silphium, which is a species of giant fennel (plant) that once grew on the North African coastline near the Greek colony of Cyrene. The ancient Greeks and Romans used silphium as both a food flavoring and a medicine and it supposedly worked wonders as a cough syrup, but it was most famous as an early form of birth control.

Ancient writers and poets hailed the plant for its contraceptive powers, and its seedpod bore a striking resemblance to the modern Valentine’s heart, leading us to assume that the herb’s associations with love and sex may have been what first helped popularize the symbol.

Whatever the case, the one thing that might most promote heart health is a constant feeling of gratitude. After all, according to Greater Good Magazine, 15 years of research has shown that gratitude can make people happier, improve their relationships, counteract depression and improve physical health.

Irish Activist Mary Davis once said, “Through the eyes of gratitude, everything is a miracle.”

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And that’s especially true when it comes to heart health and everything else.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
Opinion by Jackie Jahfetson
Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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