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Reducing Stress For a Healthy Heart

Stress is an unavoidable part of modern life.  Our bodies are programmed to deal with occasional stress -- resulting in improved focus and better mental or physical performance. But living with chronic or daily stress is hard on our physical, emotional and mental systems and can lead to a number of serious health issues, including heart problems.

Health Impacts of Stress 

As the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) tells us: "If you're often stressed, and you don't have good ways to manage it, you are more likely to have heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain, or irregular heartbeats…. The stress itself can be a problem. It raises your blood pressure, and it's not good for your body to constantly be exposed to stress hormones. Studies also link stress to changes in the way blood clots, which makes a heart attack more likely."

Other health impacts from living with constant stress may include:

When stress leads to depression, anxiety, anger, and social isolation, the risk of heart problems increases. Many people turn to unhealthy habits -- like smoking, overeating, or alcohol -- to help them deal with their stress; but these are all behaviors that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

What Causes Stress

Stress can come from a variety of sources. Whether from job concerns, family conflicts, financial issues, caregiver overload, or health issues, stress triggers are different for everyone.

As the brain reacts to a stressful situation, the physical results are often immediate: anxiety, stomach problems, sweating, racing heart, shortness of breath, irritability and fatigue/insomnia. Over time these physical reactions can lead to larger health problem. But with awareness, practice and some easy lifestyle changes you can keep the damages to a minimum.

Stress Management Tips

The key to lowering the impact of stress on your life (and your health) is to understand what triggers your stress. You probably know the causes already.  If not, take some time to write down what is causing you the most stress in your life right now. Then take a look at how you deal with it. If you turn to unhealthy behaviors to help you handle it, rethink that approach with these suggestions for healthier ways to cope.

Physical Ways to Manage Stress

Emotional Ways to Manage Stress

Try different stress relief methods to find one that works for you then make a habit of the ones you find most helpful to keep your heart healthy.

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