For quite a while, there was no recognition on the connection between mental health and heart health. Well now that thought process is changing as research indicates a connection between the mind and the heart. In other words, biological and chemical factors that trigger mental health can also influence heart disease.
With that in mind, and with May being mental health awareness month, we’ve decided to shed light on ways you can reduce stress, have a more positive mental mindset, and ultimately benefit your heart.
Stress affects the entire body both mentally and physiologically. Common signs of stress may be headaches, trouble sleeping, and frequent mood swings, changes in appetite, feeling overwhelmed, and difficulty concentrating. We are most prone to stress when we haven’t had enough sleep, aren’t eating well, experiencing a major life change or poor physical health.
You might be wondering what the link between heart disease and stress is. Simply put; having too much stress, for too long, is bad for your heart. If you find yourself stressed often without good ways to manage it, you are more prone to have heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain, or irregular heartbeats. Moreover, having your body constantly exposed to stress hormones is not any good either –studies from the University of Rochester Medical Center link stress to changes in the way blood clots, which makes a heart attack more probable.
Stress can be tough to manage – but when there is a will, there is a way. If you are finding yourself out of way when it comes to managing stress, try the following:
- Get quality sleep: having a poor night’s sleep can seriously affect your mood, mental alertness, energy level, and physical health
- Learn relaxation techniques: several techniques are available at your disposal such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and yoga
- Talk to someone. Be it friends, family, a counselor or a support group, talking about your problems has the ability to release hormones that will make you ultimately feel better
- Improve time-management skills : The more efficiently you can juggle around different types of tasks, the lower your stress levels are
- Exercise daily: Clock in 30 to 40 minutes a day of exercise as it will go a long way in improving stress
- Eat well: Go in the direction of unprocessed foods such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating well plays a vital role in stabilizing your mood