Tips for Reducing Stress to Protect Your Heart
Stress is an unavoidable part of life that can stem from various sources like frustration, setbacks, surprises, unresolved problems, illness, work, family or obligations. Stress can come from anywhere and affect people in different ways. It’s important to learn coping techniques to keep your stress under control — not only for your mental health, but also for your physical well-being. The rush of adrenaline you feel when experiencing stress causes a spike in blood pressure, which can be a problem if it’s chronic or frequent and intense. The following are some suggestions that will help you cope with stress without hurting your heart health.
Any form of physical activity is an excellent stress and tension reducer. Run, walk, lift weights or play tennis. Get involved in anything that raises your heart rate and gets you moving.
This mindful stretching can be done alone with an Internet tutorial or in a class at a local gym. Even a basic beginner session can clear your mind and provide gentle relaxation through light exercise.
Avoid Smoking & Alcohol
Turning to these substances to reduce stress is harmful to your heart. They are even more poisonous when used as crutches to avoid stress. Learning techniques to de-stress is a far healthier solution to reducing stress than smoking or alcohol that also won’t cause irreversible damage to your internal organs.
Turn off your devices. Watching TV or scrolling through social media can feel relaxing in the moment. However, the messages you receive can actually increase stress. Electronic screens are also known to interfere with sleep, which can further reduce your ability to cope with stress.
Drink Less Caffeine
Skip the coffee. Drink one cup in the morning and then switch to water or caffeine-free tea. People with stress do not benefit from chemical stimulants that aggravate their nervous systems.
You don’t have to learn transcendental meditation to reach an alpha state. There are several meditation apps and videos on YouTube that can give you anywhere from a 15-minute to hour-long self-guided relaxation break to take your mind to a peaceful place.
Give yourself permission to say no. People pleasers are their own worst enemy. Understand that the world will continue to spin if you decline to attend a party, help with a committee, run an errand for a friend or volunteer for an organization that asks for more than you give. A simple, “I would love to, but I can’t,” is all you need to say. The relief you feel will be an immediate balm for your soul.
The most important thing to remember is while you are never in control of the situation or the people around you, you are always in control of your response. Protect your mind and heart by learning how to diffuse these harmful emotions and live a healthier life.