Stress hormones set up a cascade of reactions including increased heart rate and blood pressure. If stress itself is a risk factor for heart disease, it could be because chronic stress exposes your body to unhealthy, persistently elevated levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Studies also link stress to changes in the way blood clots which increases the risk of heart attack. People respond in different ways to events and situations. One person may find an event joyful and gratifying, but another person may find the same event miserable and frustrating. Sometimes, people may handle stress in ways that make bad situations worse by reacting with feelings of anger, guilt, fear, hostility or anxiety. Find out how you can protect your heart with these 6 methods of reducing stress.
- According to a study conducted over 30 years by the Mayo Clinic, optimists live longer than pessimists. So cultivate an optimistic outlook on life.
- Fall into unhealthy habits with alcohol and you’ll raise levels of harmful triglycerides. Two standard glasses of alcohol more than three times a week is a hormone disrupter. So monitor your intake and don’t let a glass turn into a bottle.
- A hearty laugh is certainly good for your health. Humour triggers a physiological response similar to exercise, raising endorphins, lowering stress hormones and activating your immune system. So tell each other funny jokes and stories and look for the funny side in a situation.
- Take time to centre or ground yourself. In other words stop, breathe and really live in the moment. Visualise a place where you feel relaxed, calm and happy and spend time filling in as much detail as you can . . . the colours, sights, smells and sounds. Enjoy your special place for 20 minutes at a time without letting worry, judgement or fear crowd in.
- Did you know that listening to classical music has a soothing effect? Researchers have discovered that music with adagio movements of 60 beats per minute produce heightened alpha brainwave activity typically found in deep relaxation and meditation.
- Take up Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Yoga. Not only are they a great way to increase flexibility and body awareness but studies have found that they improve cardiovascular fitness, strength and can give you better clarity of mind.