From your health and wellness experts at Prisma Health
Health, Heart Health

Stressed? Not anymore

Atrium Ridge Internal Medicine
We all experience stress. Juggling work, home and social life can make it hard not to get stressed. But did you know that stress can affect your risk for heart disease?

Sometimes when people get stressed, they turn to things such as smoking, alcohol and overeating to cope. These behaviors can lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, which are bad for your heart health. While we may not be able to avoid the things that cause stress, it is important that you learn how to manage the stress.

Roxie Chisholm, NP, Atrium Ridge Internal Medicine, said, “First and foremost, you need to take time for yourself.” She offered these tips to reduce stress:
  • Exercise regularly. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins interact with brain receptors to decrease stress, causing a feeling of euphoria. This is why you tend to be in a better mood after a run or an exercise class. Yoga is a great example of an exercise that helps reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Improve your diet. Incorporating supplements like valerian root, turmeric, green tea and Omega-3 can be beneficial when it comes to decreasing stress. Reducing your caffeine intake also helps.
  • Meditate. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sit on the floor with your legs crossed like they do in the movies. You just need to be relaxed! Finding a comfortable spot, lighting candles and using aromatherapy are ways you can make your meditation more effective. If you aren’t sure where to start, there are a lot of cell phone apps that can guide you through meditation.
  • Get support from your friends and family. Just spending quality time with people you love can cause your body to release a chemical called oxytocin, which is a natural stress reliever.
  • Journal. Taking notes, re-evaluating and listing pros and cons for different situations can potentially decrease stress and anxiety. Sometimes just writing about problems can make you feel better.
The stress you experience and how you react to it could potentially lead to a variety of health problems, so it’s important to manage it. Follow these tips and help your heart stay healthy!

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