Stress and Heart Health
Stress! We all experience it but did you know that chronic stress can have a significant impact on your heart health? Research has shown that chronic stress can raise blood pressure, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, increase vulnerability to anxiety and depression, and hasten the aging process.
February is Heart Health month so this is a perfect opportunity to become more aware of your stress and take action so that it doesn’t negatively impact your heart health.
When you’re under stress, do you engage in any of these unhealthy behaviors?
Most of us engage in certain “red flag” behaviors that let us know when we’re stressed out. These behaviors can negatively impact our ability to make healthy choices and live healthy lives. See if you engage in any of these behaviors when under stress:
- Eat to calm down or eat very fast
- Drink alcohol or smoke
- Work too much or procrastinate
- Sleep too little or too much
Change what stress means in order to change its effects.
There’s no doubt that stressful things do happen in our life and that we really do suffer sometimes however, when we say that we’re suffering from stress what we’re actually saying is that we’re suffering from something else. Stress is really just a placeholder for what we’re really suffering from.
Stress is a word for that stands for the problems in our lives.
When we say that we’re “stressed out” what we’re really saying is that we’re suffering from emotional problems like depression, physical problems like diabetes, financial problems like school loan debt, work problems like a difficult manager, relationship problems like a troubled marriage, etc. These problems are what cause us to suffer and if we want to effectively deal with the stress in our lives then we must be very clear about what the cause really is so that we can deal with it directly.
The very best method for coping with stress (i.e. problems) is not to just manage the symptoms but rather to:
- Specify the problem(s) you are having.
- Identify the main causes of each problem.
- Deal with those causes until your “stress” either improves or disappears.
Granted, some underlying causes may not be under our control and others may not be easy to identify. But when they are under our control and when we do take appropriate steps to identify them and correct them, then our problems almost always get better or even go away altogether!
You can learn how to master your stress by knowing how to eliminate your recurring problems by identifying and dealing with their underlying causes.