Reach Out

Spiritual wellness can be a bond among people and can promote values such as altruism, forgiveness, and compassion. Try one of the following spiritual activities that involve reaching out to others.

• Share writings that inspire you. Find two writings that inspire, guide, and comfort you passages from sacred works, poems, quotations from literature, songs. Share them with someone else by reading them aloud and explaining what they mean to you.

• Practice kindness. Spend a day practicing small acts of personal kindness for people you know as well as for strangers. Compliment a friend, send a card, let someone go ahead of you in line, pick up litter, do someone else’s chores, help someone with packages, say please and thank you, smile.

• Perform community service. Foster a sense of community by becoming a volunteer. Find a local nonprofit group and offer your time and talent. Mentor a youth, work at a food bank, support a literacy project, help build low-cost housing, visit seniors in a nursing home. You can also work on national or international issues by writing letters to your elected representatives and other officials.

In the space below, describe the spiritual activity you performed and how it made you feel during the activity and after. Include details about the writings you chose or the acts of kindness or community service you performed.


Keep a Journal

One strategy for continuing on the path toward spiritual wellness is to keep a journal. Use a journal to record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences; to jot down quotes that engage you; to sketch pictures and write poetry about what is meaningful to you. Begin your spiritual journal today.


After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

Describe the controllable and uncontrollable risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease.

Discuss the major forms of cardiovascular disease and how they develop.

List the steps you can take now to lower your personal risk of developing cardiovascular disease.


1. Women are less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than they are to die of breast cancer. True or false?

2. On average, how much earlier does heart disease develop in people who don’t exercise regularly than in people who do?

a. 6 months

b. 2 years

c. 6 years

3. Which of the following foods would be a good choice for promoting heart health?

a. whole grains

b. salmon

c. bananas

See answers on the next page.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects nearly 84 million Americans and is the leading cause of death in the United States. CVD claims one life every 40 seconds more than 2150 Americans every day. CVD is often thought to affect primarily men and older adults, but heart disease is the number-one killer of American women, and more than 34% of CVD-related deaths occur in people under age 75.

CVD is largely due to our way of life. Millions of Americans are overweight and sedentary; they smoke, manage stress ineffectively, have uncontrolled high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, and don’t know the signs of CVD. Not all risk factors for CVD are controllable some people have an inherited tendency toward high cholesterol levels, for example but many risk factors are within your control.

This chapter explains the major forms of CVD, including hypertension, atherosclerosis, and stroke, and also the factors that put people at risk for CVD. Most important, it explains the steps you can take to protect your heart and promote cardiovascular health throughout your life.

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