Stress may be a normal part of life but the effects on your heart can be devastating. Here are highly effective ways to cope with stress and protect your heart
Stress is a reality at every stage of life. From infancy all the way through to your senior years, there will be situations that will get your heart pumping and blood pressure rising. Although we all experience stress, every individual handles it in differently.
When not managed well, stress can lead to all sorts of diseases from hypertension to asthma. It can also cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Hence, how you manage stress is important as it also helps to protect you from all kind of illnesses including heart conditions.
The effects of stress on your heart
Medical researchers have yet to determine the exact effects of stress on your heart. However, there is a possible link between stressed behaviour and your health. For example, for some, coping with stress can result in overeating, excessive alcohol intake or smoking. Exposure to excessive stress can also lead to hypertension which is when your blood pressure rises to an unhealthy level. Plus, your body’s response to stress can also affect your energy level and mood. Hence, it is important that you manage your stress levels well.
How to manage stress?
So, the next question is…what can you do about stress? There are several simple yet effective steps that you can take to manage stress well and keep it at bay. Here are some of them:
When you exercise, a chemical called endorphins is released. Endorphins are responsible for boosting your mood, which is something you really need when you’re feeling all worked up. Besides boosting your mood, exercise also helps you to maintain a healthy physique and prevent obesity. So, there’s no reason for you to not get it moving. Kill two birds with one stone and protect your overall health by exercising for 30 minutes, at least three times a week.
When you’re feeling stressed, try your very best to be optimistic about the situation. Although this sounds close to impossible especially when you’re caught in a difficult situation, looking at the bright side of things will help you move on. Having a positive attitude can also lead to a more productive outcome. For example, if you have failed to meet your sales target for the month (which can be extremely stressful!), don’t get caught up in a spiral of worry or feel like it’s the end of the road. You should instead take control and have a more positive attitude towards it. For example, evaluate your personal performance, see where you can learn and add to your skillset so you can overcome your failures.
Caffeine is not the answer
If you think that drinking a cup of caffeine will help you boost your mood and manage stress, you might want to think again. Although a certain amount of caffeine can help to boost your concentration, drinking more than you should can lead to adverse effects. Excessive intake of caffeine can lead to anxiety and affect your concentration. It could also make you jittery, nervous and affect your ability to think clearly. To avoid this, stick to just one of two cups of coffee a day or better still, have caffeine only when you really need it.
Be a social bee
Surrounding yourself with or having a chat with people you enjoy hanging out with, can help you to take your mind off your worries and reduce stress. When you have a problem, talk to someone you trust, about it. This person should be able to help you feel better such as your best friend. Socialising has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress. In a 2011 study, researchers found that participants who spent time with their close friends during difficult moments marked lower cortisol levels in their body. Cortisol is a ‘stress hormone’ that spikes when you are feeling tense.
Use your vacation time
There’s a good reason why annual leaves are compulsory and included in Labour law. Going on a vacation is a great way to unwind and relax. Take a beach holiday, visit a destination on your travel list or simply take a drive and discover a new town in Malaysia. Plan your annual vacation well and give yourself some well-deserved time to recharge. Plus, taking a break also helps you to avoid feeling burnt out at work.
In this competitive and fast-paced world, relaxing and taking some time off seems like a luxury. With stress popping into your life every now and then, it is so important that you know how to manage it. Identify some of the best ways that you can use to cope with stress and relax. When you do this, you’re not only protecting your heart health but your sanity too!
When you’re stressed, do you:
- Speak and eat really fast?
- Have trouble sleeping?
- Rush to get things done but end up with unproductive results?
- Feel anxious?
- Constantly feel low on energy?
- Feel overwhelmed?
- Have difficulties concentrating or remembering things?
One or more of these behaviours indicates that you are not dealing with stress very well. It’s never too late to make a change. So, don’t wait any longer and be wise when it comes to stress management.