How Stress Affects Heart Health

Stress is something that everyone has to deal with. Its basic definition is your body’s response to any kind of external stimulus – physical, mental, or emotional.  For a long time, physicians and scientists have found that there is a relationship between stress and heart disease risk, but there’s not yet a great understanding of the exact mechanism.

There are many possibilities.  People who have high stress levels tend to have less physical activity, poor diets, and can be socially isolated.  These are all factors that can contribute to health problems. 

Stress can be a factor in high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well.  Furthermore, people who have high stress levels tend to consume more alcohol and tobacco. All of that spells disaster if you’re trying to reduce your risk for heart disease. 

Stress is something that can’t, and really shouldn’t be, completely eliminated from your life. But the way you handle stress can make a big difference in how you fare with your health.

The first thing you need to do is to make priorities in your life. Are there ways you can cut back on the things that are actually causing your stress?  For example, can you say no to extra responsibilities at work or at home? 

Is there a way for you to manage your time more effectively? Simply cutting back on work and family activities can open a window for relaxation time. Of course, there will be things that you can’t eliminate completely, but you can learn to cope with stress more effectively. 

For example, making time to improve your nutrition will give you the energy you need to face life’s challenges. Physical activity can also help decrease the physical symptoms of stress, such as headaches, muscle tightness, and sleeplessness. 

You can also practice meditation and stretching techniques such as yoga to help relieve the physical stress from your life. Spirituality can also help to improve your mental and spiritual health. It would help if you also made time to enjoy friends and family to improve your social health.

Stress can’t be eliminated in life. But you can make choices to handle it more productively.  Stress can be your friend because it motivates you to work, meet deadlines, and handle an emergency. 

But if you let it, stress can also become your enemy causing you to lose sight of your health. Take the time to examine your stress levels and make the necessary changes for your heart.

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