Stress Management How To Deal
There are many techniques for minimizing your response to stress:
- Autogenic training.
- Progressive muscle relaxation.
- Challenging unhelpful thought patterns.
For maximum efficacy, these techniques should be supported by othergood health behaviors.
Getting enough sleep, eating right and exercising makes us feel morearmed and ready, says Dr. Fisher.
Whatever stress management techniques you choose, you will need topractice them regularly to prevent stress from building up.
It must become part of your daily routine, like bathing orbrushing your teeth, says Dr. Fisher. But think of the benefits. Once thestress is gone, whos to say another huge stressor will never happen again? Atleast youll have the tools to prevent it from taking a detrimental toll onyour health.
Stress Can Cause A Cardiac Event That Resembles A Heart Attack
More than 90% of stress-induced cardiomyopathy cases occur in older women.
- Sudden stress can cause a cardiac event that feels like a heart attack, called takotsubo cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome.
- This stress-induced cardiomyopathy isnt associated with the artery blockages that lead to a heart attack, though it may cause your heart to pump inefficiently for up to a month.
- Chronic stress can also cause high blood pressure and lead to smoking or an unhealthy diet, which are major risk factors for a heart attack.
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While stress cant directly cause a heart attack, it can have a major impact on your heart health, and even trigger an event that feels just like a heart attack.
Heres what you need to know about stress-induced cardiomyopathy, as well as the effects of chronic stress on your heart and how to manage it.
Choose Healthy Habits And Don’t Rush It
If you aren’t in the habit of exercising, start gradually.
Something as simple as taking a walk, 30 minutes a day, even if you do only , can help your heart. while youre doing it, but regular physical activity can also improve your mental well-being, lower the risk of depression and improve your overall quality of life.
If reaching for unhealthy foods has become a habit, try using or substituting ingredients to cut down on fat, added sugar, sodium and calories. Grab healthy snacks, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, or choose undressed salads and other low-fat dishes when eating out.
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Your Bodys Response To Stress May Be:
- A headache
- Wreak havoc on your sleep
- Make you feel cranky, forgetful or out of control
A stressful situation sets off a chain of events. Your body releases adrenaline, a hormone that temporarily causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise. These reactions prepare you to deal with the situation the fight or flight response.
So What Can We Do About Stress
You want to avoid all these, right? Us too! Luckily, small changes are easy to try. We even have a nifty list! Lets get started:
Get giggling. Make silly faces with the family, have a staring contest, watch videos of babies and puppies whatever gets your belly moving, try blowing off some steam with some laughs! Bonus points if you laugh till you cry.
Lets list. Making a list can help you decide whats actually important to do today so you dont feel buried all the time. Added bonus? Youll feel a sense of accomplishment when you cross things off as done. We can practically hear you saying aaaahhhhh already.
- Find a friend. Take a 60-second social break to message someone with a Hello! And hey, if it turns into a longer chat, we wont tell!
- Move more. Movement is good for your heart and your mind. Dance like crazy to get the funk out, try hula hooping, briskly walk around the block and listen to the birds, or take that hip-hop class youve always wanted to try. Bonus points if you laugh while youre moving!
- Get your butt in bed. Getting enough sleep can help you feel less cranky and overwhelmed, and more productive and creative. If you want all that, you gotta get to bed earlier! Turn off the screen, you can binge-watch your show and earn more XP tomorrow. Sleep experts suggest aiming for about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.4 See you in the morning, sunshine!
De-stressing shouldnt stress you out. Which one are you going to try now: giggling, socializing or moving?
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Stress And Its Adverse Effect On The Human Heart
Depression may both cause and complicate heart disease
Stress in your life causes stress on your heart. That stress can accelerate heart disease and can lead to a heart attack.
Depression and anxiety from stress tend to go hand in hand. If you suffer from one of these mental disorders it’s likely you’re also affected by the other. The latest medical research has added a third disorder to the mix, this time a physical one. Over the last decade researchers have raised the possibility that depression and anxiety can set the stage for heart disease as well as complicate its outcome.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. But just what is stress? Simply put, stress refers to the body’s response to change. Of course, not all stress is bad and both good and bad stress affects different people in different ways. But continued ongoing stress can cause chronic anxiety and depression in some individuals.
How does stress affect the heart?
What Causes Stress?
These kinds of stresses may be caused by:
- Lack of a sense of control over one’s life.
- Relentless time pressures.
- Poor coping skills.
- Loss, including the biological vulnerabilities of aging.
How Is Stress Measured?
It’s difficult for an average individual to identify how much stress he or she has. If you believe you have stress or have unexplained symptoms you should talk to your doctor about it.
Common symptoms of stress and depression:
Depression Can Accelerate Heart Disease
Watching for Warning Signs
How Stress Contributes To Heart Disease
So how does stress contribute to heart disease? You might be surprised by the answer. Most doctors will ask you about whether youre smoking or drinking because we know that when were stressed were more likely to engage in coping mechanisms such as those unhealthy behaviours by eating junk food, not exercising enough.
And part of that is because when were stressed we dont feel like we have the time to keep up with those healthy behaviours.
But thats an indirect cause between feeling stress and cardiovascular health.
But in 2017 a study in The Lancet showed that theres a more direct risk between stress and heart health. So they showed, through brain scans, that constant stress is linked to an area in the brain called the amygdala and it actually starts a process that sends a signal to your bone marrow to start producing more white blood cells.
Now these white blood cells then start a process in your arteries and they become inflamed and its this inflammation that is concerning. This is part of a process that can actually lead to heart attacks, cardiovascular disease strokes.
And its direct.
This is not about your behaviours this is actually a physical process that happens in your body when youre youre being exposed to constant stress.
So this should be a wake-up call for you. Stress management isnt some airy-fairy, kumbaya type thing.
This is something that can actually affect your physical health cardiac health.
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Ways To Manage Stress And Help Your Heart
Want to turn your stress around and help your heart in the process? Try these five simple tips.
Stay positive. People with heart disease who maintain an upbeat attitude are less likely to die than those who are more negative, according to research. Just having a good laugh can help your heart. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.
Meditate. This practice of inward-focused thought and deep breathing has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. Anyone can learn to meditate. Just take a few minutes to sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Meditation’s close relatives, yoga and prayer, can also relax the mind and body.
Exercise. Every time you are physically active, whether you take a walk or play tennis, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only melts away stress, but it also protects against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your heart muscle, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
Unplug. It’s impossible to escape stress when it follows you everywhere. Cut the cord. Avoid emails and TV news. Take time each dayeven if it’s for just 10 or 15 minutesto escape from the world.
Find your own path to stress relief. Take a bubble bath, listen to music, or read a book. Any technique is effective if it works for you.
Stress And The Cardiovascular System
With frequent episodes of stress comes frequently elevated blood sugar and blood pressure, two conditions which are well-known contributors to heart disease. Furthermore, those who are often under stress may use less than healthy coping mechanisms such as eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol and smoking.
All of these factors add up to harm the body in a myriad of ways, not the least of which is damage to the artery walls and subsequent plaque buildup. This buildup impedes blood flow and can even lead to complete blockages. As a result, the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke are far higher than normal.
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Respiratory And Cardiovascular Systems
Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During the stress response, you breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to your body. If you already have a breathing problem like asthma or emphysema, stress can make it even harder to breathe.
Under stress, your heart also pumps faster. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert more oxygen to your muscles so youll have more strength to take action. But this also raises your blood pressure.
As a result, frequent or chronic stress will make your heart work too hard for too long. When your blood pressure rises, so do your risks for having a stroke or heart attack.
Incorporate Other Healthy Lifestyle Changes One At A Time
Dont try to fix everything at once. Thats especially true if one of the habits you want to break is smoking.
can be difficult. If you smoke, talk with your health care professional to determine if you need medications or other help to quit. Therapies may include nicotine replacement or prescription medicines. You could also ask for a referral for a smoking cessation program.
Ultimately, you have to take care of yourself to break the cycle of feeling down. That could be doing something structured, such as a yoga class or tai chi practice, or something you can do anywhere, such as meditating, listening to music or reading a book.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. .
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Stress Is A Normal Part Of Everyday Life But Here’s How Your Reaction To It Affects Your Heart
Everyone encounters stressful situations from time to time. But how often you experience stress and how you react to it may have an impact on your overall health. Unmanaged stress can negatively impact almost every aspect of your life. It can make your body feel achy, wreak havoc on your sleep and affect your productivity. Stress has been linked to depression, insomnia, digestive problems, skin conditions and a weakened immune response. Chronic stress has also been linked to heart disease.
Although more research is needed to determine the exact connection between stress and heart disease, one thing is known for sure. When you’re under stress, you’re more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors that aren’t good for your heart, such as overeating, drinking alcohol, using drugs and smoking. These habits can increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels, major heart disease risk factors.
Here’s what is known about the connection between stress and heart health:
The bottom line?
Stress isn’t healthy. If you’re stressed out, chances are your heart is, too.
Finding ways to effectively manage stress can help your heart and improve your overall physical and emotional health. The key to managing stress is identifying the causes of your stress and then coming up with ways to cope with or avoid them.
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc.
What The Experts Do
Taking Steps Toward Stress Relief
I certainly get stressed, but exercise is part of my de-stressing, says Johns Hopkins cardiologist Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H. Im a big activity tracker. I make sure to get 10,000 steps every day. When the kids go to bed, I go to my elliptical trainer, which faces a flat-screen TV. I decompress, watch whatever I might have watched anyway, and get to my 10,000 steps.
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Identify The Cause Of Your Depression Stress Or Anxiety And Address It
Seek therapy if necessary.
At times you may feel down for a couple of days, but if it goes on for two weeks or more, you may need to seek help. Depression is a problem when it causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.
What You Never Knew About How Stress Affects Your Heart
A racing heartbeat, a pit in your stomach, a pounding in your earsall of these are familiar symptoms of increased heart rate caused by a moment of extreme mental stress. Most people have probably experienced this, because mental stress is a normal part of life. However, long-term mental stress is not normal and can actually do real damage to your heart over a long period of time.
A demanding job, a problematic relationship, depression, anxiety or the death of a loved one can cause mental stress, to name just a few examples. Mental stress negatively affects your health because of the way your body responds to it, and how you cope with it.
Some people resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms including overeating, smoking, drinking excessively, using illicit drugs or behaving recklessly. All these coping mechanisms can lead to significant physiological changes in our bodies. These changes include increasing cortisol levels in the blood that potentially lead to an increase in glucose levels, insulin resistance, weight gain, obesity, increased cholesterol or decreased ability to digest foods. These changes lead to heartburn, elevated heart rate, high blood pressure and even the development or worsening of Type 2 diabetes and heart and vascular disease.
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Chronic Stress Can Cause Heart Trouble Too
Initially, takotsubo cardiomyopathy was identified in patients who experienced sudden, extreme stress. But doctors now recognize that it can also occur in people who have more prolonged stressors such as a major project at work or relationship stress at home, Gilstrap says.
Chronic stress is also linked to heart disease in a number of ways. Experiencing chronic stress, including that from racial biases, poverty, or relationship troubles, increases your risk of hypertension, according to a 2013 study in Current Hypertension Reports. Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Stress can also contribute to unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking or overeating, all of which are tied to adverse effects on heart health, according to the American Heart Association.
How Can I Learn How To Relax
In order to cope with stress, especially if you have heart disease, you need to learn how to relax. Relaxing is a learned skill — it takes commitment and practice. Relaxation is more than sitting back and being quiet. Rather, it’s an active process involving techniques that calm your body and mind. True relaxation requires becoming sensitive to your basic needs for peace, self-awareness, and thoughtful reflection. The challenge is being willing to meet these needs rather than dismissing them.
There are a number of relaxation techniques, including:
Once you find a relaxation method that works for you, practice it every day for at least 30 minutes. Taking the time to practice simple relaxation techniques gives you the chance to unwind and get ready for life’s next challenge.
Can What I Eat Help Fight Stress?
Your body is able to fight stress and heart disease better when you take the time to eat well-balanced meals. Eat a variety of foods each day, including lean meats, fish, or poultry, enriched or whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
About 55%-60% of your daily intake of calories should come from carbohydrates, no more than 25%-30% from of your caloric intake should come from fat and 10%-15% should come from protein.
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What Can I Do About Stress
Fortunately, you can manage stress in ways such as:
- Exercising regularly. It can relieve stress, tension, anxiety and depression. Consider a nature walk, meditation or yoga.
- Making time for friends and family. Its important to maintain social connections and talk with people you trust.
- Getting enough sleep. Adults should aim for seven to nine hours a night.
- Maintaining a positive attitude.
- Practicing relaxation techniques while listening to music.
- Finding a stimulating hobby that can be fun and distract you from negative thoughts or worries.
Figuring out how stress pushes your buttons is an important step in dealing with it. Identify sources of stress in your life and look for ways to reduce and manage them. A health care professional can help you find ways to manage your stress.
Stress management or relaxation classes can also help. Look for them at community colleges, rehab programs, in hospitals or by calling a therapist in your community.
Adopting serenity in the face of lifes challenges may help improve your perception of stress and result in better quality of life and heart health.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.