Cleveland Clinic research shows that unmanaged stress can lead to heart problems like high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, artery damage, high cholesterol levels, and a weakened immune system. Unmanaged stress can also lead to increased risk of heart disease and stroke. So, it’s important to manage your stress in order to reduce your risk of these heart health complications.
Stress and Heart Problems
Listed below are some Mindful Health® suggestions for lowering stress and maintaining a healthy heart.
Practice relaxation techniques
Finding a Mindful way to relax is important for maintaining proper heart health. Be sure to schedule time for the things that help you relax like watching funny YouTube clips, gardening, or having a hot cup of your favorite tea. Also, consider learning different relaxation techniques like deep breathing or focused imagery. Deep breathing helps relax tense muscles and slows your heart rate. Focused imagery helps you clear your mind of negativity and open yourself to more stress-free inspirations.
Just let go
Holding in your emotions can lead to stress, which can be bad for your heart health. Instead, don’t be afraid to let go every now and again. A good cry can help rid the body of stress buildup. It also releases endorphins that can lower stress and benefit the heart. If the emotion you are holding inside is anger consider using stress balls to release your frustrations. It’s better than bottling your anger which can lead to heart problems.
Water is the key to stress relief and heart health. Water keeps your mind sharp, helps fight against fatigue, and lowers cortisol levels. Experts have also found that water helps your heart by making it easier to pump blood through blood vessels. When your body is dehydrated your heart strains to pump blood. So consider caring a bottle of water or sports drink with you wherever you go to stay hydrated. Also, consider eating fruits and vegetables that are composed of mostly water like cantaloupe (90 percent water), celery (94 percent water), cucumbers (96 percent water), and watermelon (92 percent water).
Build social connections
Reaching out to others can help lower your stress and improve your health. Surrounding yourself with loving friends and family members can help you relax and stay focused on your goals. Studies also show that older adults with heart disease are at a higher risk of death when they lack significant social connections. So making time for bonding with your family and friends is important. Also, consider taking up volunteer opportunities or new hobbies to meet new people.