Stress Can Lead To Behaviors That Are Not Heart Healthy

Health Topics

Though stress is something everyone deals with, how many stressors you have and how stress affects you can cause issues with your heart health.

The direct link between stress and heart disease, the leading killer of Americans, according to the American Heart Association, is still being researched. But some things people do to deal with stress – like drinking alcohol and smoking – can lead to increased blood pressure and damaged arteries. 

Instead, the AHA recommends four health-conscious ways that you can help manage stress in their lives:

  1. Daily relaxation. Sometimes curling up on the couch to watch TV can seem relaxing. But to really relieve stress, you should choose an activity that can calm tension in both your body and your mind.
    Some forms of relaxation that can help include meditation, tai chi, and yoga. Signing up for classes can help you learn how to correctly do these relaxation techniques.
    Deep breathing is another type of relaxation that you can easily do anywhere you are. Some people find it useful as a way to start and end their days, but it also can be used throughout the day whenever you feel affected by stress.

  2. Emergency stress stoppers. You can experience stressful situations every day, at home, work, while driving, and in overcrowded places. Using emergency stress stoppers can help to manage stress in a variety of ways:
    • Apologize if you make a mistake
    • Break down what’s stressing you into smaller, more manageable steps to deal with
    • Count to 10 before speaking
    • Go for a walk
    • Hug a loved one
    • Take five deep breaths
    • Walk away from the situation and go back to it later
  3. Finding pleasure. Sometimes the best way to ease stress that makes you feel bad is to do something that makes you feel good. You can naturally destress by doing something you enjoy.
    Try to do at least one thing that you enjoy for a minimum of 15 minutes every day. For instance:
    • Listening to music
    • Playing a sport you enjoy, like golf or tennis
    • Going for a walk or run
    • Reading a book, magazine, or newspaper
    • Doing a craft, such as sewing, knitting, or scrapbooking
  4. Positive self-talk. Whether it’s trying to remember a grocery list or preparing for an upcoming presentation, everyone talks to themselves. Positive self-talk can be used to help you calm down and decrease stress.
    Examples of self-talk that can help ease stress include:
    • I can deal with this situation.
    • I’ve got this.
    • Things could be worse.

By making positive choices to help manage stress, you can avoid damaging your heart caused by making more negative choices.

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