Our hearts and minds are closely linked, and am not referring to our emotional hearts, but the physical hearts; the ones that pump blood to our bodies. You may be questioning the link between the heart and mind. Think of a time when you were depressed, or had the “blues.” It is likely you are eating habits slacked, and most likely your exercise level decreased. You may have picked up or increased a bad habit. All of things affect your heart health. As a side effect to stress you can experience: high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, damage to your arteries, higher cholesterol, coronary artery disease, and a weakened immune system; according, to the Cleveland Clinic (http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/prevention/emotional-health/stress-relaxation/stress-management-your-heart) So how do you avoid letting stress or the blues from affecting your heart in a physical way?
- Talk to your therapist; or begin to see one. Talking to someone can help you alleviate your stress, or it can teach you coping skills.
- Acceptance- Acceptance of the situations can help in relieving stress. It doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to be understanding of the situation; but it does mean that you are accepting that the situation is taking place.
- Take time for yourself- I don’t know about you, but when I take time for myself I am ultimately more relaxed. Take time for yourself, doing what you like to do.
- Exercise- I get it when you are in a state of depression, the “blues” or are just stressed you may not feel like exercising; at least I know I don’t. But that is when you need to make sure that you are at the gym the most. Exercising releases hormones that will generally make you happier, or at least alleviate stress.
- Get sleep- We all get cranky when we are tired, when you are already cranky and sleep deprived you can become even crankier- creating more stress. So make sure that you are getting your recommended daily dose of sleep.
- Schedule and prioritize A great way to reduce stress is to lessen the likelihood of its occurrence. One way that you can reduce stress is by scheduling and prioritizing your activities.
Remember, stress doesn’t just affect your emotional health, it also affects your physical health.