Stress and heart disease are closely related. If we want to reduce the risk or reverse heart disease, we need to learn how to deal with stress.
Sustaining mental health and strong brain function, is crucial since mind controls virtually everything, including heart function. In one study, it has been proven that happy people have lower risk of heart disease.
They had healthier view on problems and life in general as well as healthy outlook on their body image. On the other hand, numerous studies have shown connection between impaired mental state and heart disease.
Different psychological factors like anger, depression and especially repeated anxiety attacks can have negative effect on the heart muscle. Because of this, it is important to know what causes anxiety and how to overcome it, naturally.
STRESS AND HEART DISEASE - HOW IT ALL STARTS
When you are exposed to stress, the nervous system sends signals to the body and to the endocrine glands that you are in danger.
Endocrine glands produce high amounts of fight or flight hormones such as cortisol, ACTH and adrenaline. In normal functioning body, this levels go back to normal, after the source of stress is gone.
In today's world, due to our busy schedule, bills and more and more demands from society, in every aspect of our lives, we fell stressed to often. Because of this, stress hormones fluctuate all day long, again and again. Over time, chronic stress impairs the ability of our endocrine system to achive balance or homestatis which leads to elevated levels of cortisol and ACTH.
When this cycle repeats itself and we don't do anything about it, our stress hormones raise gradually, at our rest state, which causes build up of adrenal hormones in the body, especially cortisol. This is where stress and heart disease connection is made.
We start to feel tired, agitated, disturbed, and we even can't fall a sleep at night. Chronic stress combined with lack of sleep, causes an increase in our blood pressure, heart rate, inflammation markers, fat deposits and weakened immune system which can lead, among other diseases, to heart problems.
Some people may become a victim of emotional eating, also know as binge eating disorder, in order to relieve stress. Don't make the same mistake I did and try to use food as a weapon against stress. Nothing good will come from it.
STRESS AND HEART DISEASE - LIFESTYLE MODIFICATIONS
Besides eating healthy and working out regulary, you should also take some action steps to improve your mental well-being and reduce stress. By balancing neurotransmitters and boosting key ones, especially dopamine, you can improve your mood.
-Spend time with people that make you feel better such as your friends and family
Since we are social beings, spending time with people dear to us, reflects positively on the mind and our health. By just talking and communicating with pleasant people, you stimulate the brain, decrease stress and the risk of dementia as well as heart disease.
-Take things one at a time
Don't get caught up in the desire to do all at once. Instead, rearrange your thoughts and tasks in order you see fit and manageable. By concentrating on one thing at the time, you will become much more productive, while keeping the same level of motivation.
-Take a walk
Whether you exercise or not, 20-30 minute walk is always a good idea. Any kind of activity stimulates production of enzymes in the body, while boosting metabolism. However, walking is also used to treat stress and heart disease, by relaxing the brain. If you want a company, invite a friend or someone you like, to join you.
-Get a pet
This might be a prescription of the future. Many studies have shown that pet owners can have medical benefits that are beyond dispute. This includes less anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, heart rate and even faster recovery. Before geting a pet, consider how much time will you have for him. Cats require a lot less of your time than dogs, for example.
-Focus on the present
Besides concentrating on one thing at the time, you should also focus on the present moment. Don't think too much about the past since you can't change it. Learn what you can from it and move on. When it comes to future, it is good to have some kind of a plan but worrying about it, will be of little use to you.
-Get healthy dose of sunlight every day
Sunlight exposure in healthy doses stimulates the body to produce vitamin D and improves our mood.
-Go out in the nature
Combination of sunlight and nature can relieve stress better than many pharmaceutical drugs or herbs. Organise family picnic, take a walk or meditate on the beach, near a creek or in the forrest, in a safe, stress free environment.
-Get enough rest
Sleep is the best way to recover and recharge for the next day. Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep, no more no less. However, while stress and heart disease are tightly connected, so are stress and insomnia. Also, active rest such as stretching, walking or riding a bike, is another way to recover and decrease stress.
-Get out from your TV or computer screen
Watching TV or working on computer, too much, especially at late hours of the evening, is a bad choice. This alone can increase you stress hormone levels, drastically. It affects circadian rhythm, by raising ACTH and cortisol which has great influence on stress and heart attack.
-Limit alcohol and quit smoking
Small amounts of alcohol are allowed, even desirable, when it comes to mental health and prevention of heart disease but the same rule doesn't apply for smoking. One study has even showed a distinct connection between smoking and brain damage which in some test subjects, resulted in lower IQs.
-Use negative energy as a fuel for something better
Everyone experiences bad periods in their life but the way we cope with difficulties, is what defines us. In a way, life kicks you in the ass and forces you to learn, work and adapt. I used my heart disease and life problems as a motivation to exercise, eat healthy and improve myself.
STRESS AND HEART DISEASE - LAUGHTER AND ATTITUDE
There is one more thing that you should practice daily, if you aren't doing it already. Laughter. Humor and laughter are the best natural remedies which are fun, free, and simple. Comedy is also one of the ways to increase the feeling of joy and happiness in our lives.
Laughter has many benefits but most prominent and important for us, is its ability to strengthen cardiovascular system, besides relieving stress, improving mood and boosting immune system. To achieve this, you should socialize with funny people and choose comedy movies and series, instead of drama or horror.
Also, don't let anyone dictate the way you live or worry about what they may say or think. Be yourself. Try to stay away from negative, grumpy, annoying or pessimistic individuals. You can achieve whatever you want, if you just put the work and time into something you like doing.
If I accepted the fact that it is impossible to reverse heart disease, I would never be able to get well again. Road to recovery begins in your mind because of which it is important to think positive, stay optimistic and believe in yourself.
STRESS AND HEART DISEASE - BRAIN SUPPLEMENTS
There are also some brain supplements that can help improve your mental well-being and cognitive function such as fish oil, ginkgo biloba, Acetyl-L-carnitine, bacopa, vinpocetine, adaptogens and many more.
I have tried most of them until I finally found the mental health supplement for stress and heart disease that works for me. However, it is not a cure, it is just meant to help you in the process.
The real cure is in you because of which you should never stop training your mind, acquiring new knowledge and breaking psychological barriers. By stimulating the brain, you are getting smarter and mentally stronger.
OTHER USEFUL LINKS
Some addictive behaviors can stand in a way of your happiness and fulfilling life which are directly associated with stress and heart disease.
If you need help in overcoming any kind of addiction, whether it is a food, dangerous substance, gambling or codependency, check this cool site to learn how to change your thinking and untangle your life.
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