Ladies, Take Stress Relief To Heart

Every day of our lives we face events that cause us stress. Although most of these events are minor in the grand scheme of things, even small things can add up day after day. It’s important to keep in mind that stress isn’t just mental. In fact, when you’re faced with stress, you’ll likely to feel your heart pound, your stomach tense and your muscles tighten.

When you feel stressed, this causes a negative chain reaction within your body. If you're angry, anxious, tense, frustrated, frightened, or depressed, your body's natural response is to release stress hormones.

These hormones include cortisol and adrenaline. They prepare your body to deal with stress. They cause your heart to beat more rapidly and your blood vessels to narrow to help push blood to the center of the body. These hormones also increase your blood pressure. This “fight or flight” response is thought to date back to prehistoric times, when we needed the extra burst of adrenaline to escape predators.

After your stress subsides, your blood pressure and heart rate should return to normal. However if you're continually stressed, your body doesn't have a chance to recover. This may lead to damaging effects on your artery walls. Although it is not clear that stress alone causes high blood pressure or heart disease, it can increase your risk and it can impact your general wellness.

Get serious about stress relief
As one of the most common and deadly conditions, heart disease is a serious risk to women. The majority of women between the ages of 40 and 60 have at least one risk factor for the disease. On top of this, many women face chronic stress, which can further increase their risk for the disease. But many may not realize it.

The groundwork to prevent heart disease can start anytime. By incorporating healthy lifestyle behaviors, and taking the time to adapt stress relieving techniques and behavior, you are not only promoting a healthy heart, but overall health and well-being. Here are some easy ways to beat stress:

Avoid unnecessary changes in your life. Instead, reserve what energy you do have for dealing with the stressor at hand. If possible, try to make your work and home environments stable while working out the primary problem.

Quiet your mind. In times of stress, the mind makes things appear worse than they are by creating endless versions of approaching disaster. Because the body can't tell the difference between fact and fantasy, it responds with a greater physical response.

Keep in the present. You can calm both your mind and your body by keeping your mind in the present. The present is hardly ever as stressful as an imagined future or past full of regret. To keep your mind in the present, center your attention on your breathing, a sound or visual pattern, a repetitive movement, or meditation.

Bravely and aggressively face the stressor. Resist any temptation to ignore whatever is causing stress. Instead, carefully think about the seriousness of the problem without blowing it out of proportion. Ask yourself, "What is the worst thing that is realistically likely to happen?" Then remind yourself of all the good things that will still be a part of your life even if the worst happens. In addition, confirm your view of the stressor by talking with others. Make a special effort to speak to family, friends, or co-workers who have dealt with similar experiences.

Review your coping responsesConfidence is helpful in fighting stress and it builds on memories of past successes. Review successes you've had with other stressful life situations. Recall some of the exact things you did to cope.

Take action. Commit yourself to a reasonable course of action to deal with whatever is causing you stress. Action is powerful in helping you to reduce stress. Research shows that the body lowers the amount of epinephrine, a powerful stress hormone, when a person shifts into action. Don't avoid taking action because you fear you'll make the wrong decision. Remind yourself that there are many different ways of successfully dealing with a stressful situation.

Take time out to relax. At least once or twice a day, take time to calm down by relaxing. Some suggestions are listening to your favorite music, taking a walk, gardening, reading, or exercising. You could also choose to do more formal relaxation like deep breathing or meditation.

Your heart is in good hands

Life is too short to feel overwhelmed by stress or to overlook the health of your heart. By practicing stress relief techniques and other healthy lifestyle behaviors, you are investing in yourself. Rest assured, though, you are not alone when it comes to heart disease prevention and heart health. With experienced specialists, an extensive number of services and a commitment to compassionate care, Gwinnett Medical Center’s cardiovascular program will ensure that you receive the best care possible. 


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