According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, half of all Americans are currently considered “at risk” for heart disease, and that figure continues to rise. Due to the prevalence of the disease, February is recognized as American Heart Month to raise awareness about heart disease and prevention. To celebrate, you can focus on dialing down your stress level.
Stress and Heart Health
While there are risk factors that contribute to heart disease that you can’t control, there are many things you can do to maintain your heart health. One of those things is to reduce your stress. Having too much stress for too long is bad for your heart.
Some people may handle their stress with poor health behaviors—such as smoking, eating unhealthy foods and drinking alcohol. Such behaviors can put you at an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
Take Charge of Your Stress
Managing stress is good for your health and well-being. Taking steps to reduce your stress will improve your overall health. Try these tips:
- Simplify your schedule. If you’re feeling rushed or too busy, prioritize essential items on your calendar and to-do lists.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Try listening to relaxing music to help you calm down or look into stress management or relaxation classes.
- Get enough sleep. Adults should strive for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.
- Exercise regularly. Movement can get your blood and endorphins flowing, relieving stress, tension, anxiety and depression.
- Maintain social connections. It’s important to make time for friends and family and talk with people you trust.
If the stresses in your life become more than you can bear or manage with these techniques, consider seeking professional assistance.