There is no doubt that stress is bad for your heart.
“There are studies to show that stress is comparable to other risk factors that we traditionally think of as major, like hypertension, poor diet, and lack of exercise,” says Kathi Heffner, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Rochester Center for Mind-Body Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. Here are 12 steps you can take to fight stress and protect your heart.
Stress-reduction techniques such facial and head massage therapy and exercises such Tune-Up and meditation have been shown to lower stress hormones and bolster immune function. In one study, people who practiced meditation regularly experienced a decrease in some of their body’s inflammatory responses. Inflammation is emerging as a key culprit in heart disease, among many other chronic conditions.
"Dedicating a certain time of the day to focus on your body and on actually relaxing, (not) caring about the other things that are going on your day, is very useful," says John Simmons Jr., MD, assistant professor of family medicine at Texas A & M Health Science Center College of Medicine
Spending too much time on your own can affect not only your mental health but your heart health as well. This holds true whether or not you’ve been actually diagnosed with heart disease.
According to one study, women in particular were more prone to angina, a heart-disease-related chest pain, and other problems if they had little social support when they were recovering from a heart attack.
Make sure you’re connecting with true friends. “If you have a lot of friends but they’re all mean to you, that won’t be beneficial,” Heffner says. And that’s backed up by research.
We all know that the type A personality—the one constantly striving for perfection—seems more prone to heart disease. But what it really boils down to, says Heffner, is hostility. "Hostility has been shown to be the key ingredient in what used to be termed the “type A personality," she says. "Hostility is behavior that's fueled by anger toward other people." Research suggests that hostility may be a better predictor of heart disease than things like high blood pressure and being overweight. So play nice and think nice thoughts about the future, as optimism has also been shown to protect the heart.
Nursing a grudge isn't going to help in the heart-health department. Research suggests that people experience more psychological stress and higher heart rates when they hold grudges than when they grant forgiveness.
"You would be amazed at how strongly they can take root in your psyche and how long they can gnaw at you. Getting that monkey off your back psychologically is very important, and allows you to move on and quit perseverating," Dr. Simmons says.
So be quick to forgive. This is also likely to lead to better social relationships, another boost for the heart, Heffner says.
Laughter can burn up to 20 percent more calories than keeping that poker face, according to a 2005 study, which monitored adults while they watched funny and not-so-funny film clips.
And fewer calories mean a better chance of staying slim, which is one of the best ways to protect your heart for the long-term. Mirth also increased heart rate and, in a 2010 study in the American Journal of Cardiology, was shown to improve vascular function. So laugh a little or, better yet, a lot. The first study found that the more you laugh the more calories you use up and the harder your heart works.
Having too many drinks can raise triglycerides and blood pressure and even lead to heart failure. However, moderate drinking may actually ward off heart disease. Moderate means no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. If you don’t drink, this isn't a reason to start, according to Dr. Simmons. "But if you have always enjoyed a glass of wine and want reassurance, it's perfectly fine," he says.
Caffeine can quickly raise your fight-or-flight response and all the attendant stress hormones, explains Dr. Simmons. That's good if you’re being chased by a saber-toothed tiger but not so good if you’re caught in traffic. Elevated stress hormones contribute to inflammation. So cut down on your coffee or tea habit. And even your diet soda habit. Preliminary studies have linked diet sodas to an increased risk of diabetes, a major risk factor for heart disease.
Not with people! But avoid getting too emotionally invested in things that don’t matter that much.
For example, researchers recently linked football team losses with a greater risk of heart attack. In Los Angeles County, deaths from heart attacks and just deaths in general (mostly in elderly people) spiked after the Pittsburgh Steelers routed the Los Angeles Rams 31-19 in the 1980 Super Bowl. But when the Rams pounced the Washington Redskins 38-9 in 1984, deaths in the county declined. So don’t sweat the small stuff and remember that it's all small stuff.
Eating a balanced diet—low in red meat and processed foods, high in fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish, and whole grains—will not only keep your weight down but also have a more direct effect on the heart’s functioning: It keeps your blood sugar stable throughout the day so you can avoid destructive peaks and valleys. "Eating a more balanced diet with complex carbs means you’re going to be stable throughout the day," Dr. Simmons says. Healthy eating can help prevent or delay diabetes, a major risk factor for heart trouble.
Depression can increase the risk of heart disease and may shorten life span. If you’re depressed, medication, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, and other treatments may help. The Cleveland Clinic recommends antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors because they don’t raise blood pressure.
Ask your doctor what is the best for your depression and make sure you know about
So many people in our sleep-deprived culture just aren’t getting enough z’s, or enough of the right kind of rest. An average of six to eight hours of sleep is recommended, according to Dr. Simmons.
However, quality of sleep is the key. Sleep apnea—a condition in which you wake up periodically due to interrupted breathing—has been linked with cardiovascular disease.
People who awake in the middle of the night from sleep apnea are unable to complete normal sleep cycles, a time when the body naturally lowers hormone levels and blood pressure. This can lead to hypertension and heart disease.
Want a cure-all? Try aerobic exercises and even dancing. These activities help you feel better, lower your risk for diabetes, and make your heart stronger. Exercise can also help to fight depression.
Study after study has shown the benefits of physical activity, even active housework or gardening. It pumps your heart, moving blood all around the body.
Exercising Tune-Up 7 min/day can help you feel and look better. But talk to your doctor before
Due to the overwhelming and ceaseless stress we experience our natural oxytocin production is deficient, leading to the many diseases and disorders directly connected to stress.
In very simple terms our bodies natural system for combating stress is over worked and failing. Stress is stealing our joy and our health.
In addition, Tune-Up system can provide your body with the additional oxytocin boost it needs, and to support your body’s own natural oxytocin production.
Oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone that is released by methods as simple as a hug, a kiss, and gentle eye contact. Our brains are naturally organized to release it but prolonged stress, isolation, or trauma, conditions afflicting many people, prevent adequate oxytocin production. Tune-Up system helps to reduce stress, increase well-being, and generate relaxation, thereby helping to reduce or alleviate symptoms associated with autism, depression, anxiety, stress, emotional upset, and other chronic ailments afflicting millions of individuals every day.
It is especially important that Tune-Up helps to boost your oxytocin hormone by providing the benefits of the therapeutic touch during the exercise.
To relieve stress I highly recommend you to use Tune-Up!