Tips on Stress Management to Reduce Risk of Coronary Heart Disease

Tips on Stress Management to Reduce Risk of Coronary Heart Disease

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie Thompson

Life Saver, NHCPS

posted on Jan 1, 2015, at 4:48 pm

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brain and heart connectionSTRESS. WE’VE ALL HAD IT AT SOME POINT OF OUR LIVES. In fact, often we feel stressed when trying to balance our time and energy between work, home, and social lives. Aside from these external factors, stress can be generated and exacerbated by internal factors. Some internal factors include nutrition, general health and ability to manage your emotions.

Stress causes a wide range of symptoms that affect your body, mind and behavior like headaches, anxiety and social withdrawal. Stress has been linked to almost all leading causes of death – including heart disease. Furthermore, stress is often disregarded as a need to seek medical attention, and many physicians give little attention to stress management techniques for their patients. Does stress have to linger within your daily life?

The good news is you can begin decreasing your distress levels today by applying simple practices to your life. Here we list some of the easiest methods to reduce stress.

1. Changing up your diet
It’s no secret you are what you eat. Comfort foods are often the go to” when stressed, but these high fat foods can make you lethargic and unable to combat the source of stress in the long run. Avoid giving in to instant gratification by consuming foods that work with your body to lower stress levels. According to
The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, individuals should consume low-fat, high fiber, carbohydrate-rich foods to lower stress. These include fruits, vegetables, rice, and some soups. Foods to avoid include meats, cheeses, caffeinated drinks and refined sugars.

2. Exercise
Physical activity has been known to increase heart health, but did you know it could also lower stress? According to the
Anxiety and Depression Association of America, regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease levels of tension, stabilize mood, and improve sleep and self-esteem.

3. Practice proper breathing, yoga or meditation techniques
Focusing on both your mind and body may be exactly what you need to combat the stress you’re feeling.
Yoga and meditation bring together physical and mental discipline to achieve peacefulness, aiding in relaxation and anxiety.

4. Spend time with friends and family
Friends and family are often the supportive network we need to make it through the tough times. Having a social network has been associated with lower levels of stress, leading to increased longevity and happiness.

5. Practice a hobby or find a new one
Pastimes give our minds and body a break from anxiety and tension because they often require your full attention, but unlike work, pastimes invest attention and energy in activities that you enjoy. Hobbies like gardening, painting, socializing, volunteering and more are outlets that all relieve harmful stress.

There are countless ways to reduce stress in your life, but consider trying out a few mentioned above and find what works best for you. Remember, if you ever feel stressed to a point where you feel out of control, seek medical attention.

What are some of your favorite ways to reduce stress?

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

Contact Mackenzie at mackenzie.thompson@nhcps.com.
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