Taking care of your heart is essential to healthy living, but is often put on the back-burner of our daily lives.  Everyone knows the general rule of eating well and getting exercise, but there are so many other factors that go into your heart’s health.  One factor in particular that tends to be more difficult to get rid of is stress. Stress can come from anywhere in your life from your job, house duties, or even the attitude of people around you. The amount of stress you have on a daily basis does cause wear and tear on your heart, so it is important to keep it as minimal as possible. According to the American Heart Association, when you are angry or hostile, your body releases different stress hormones that cause your heart rate and blood pressure go up, which makes your heart work harder. Of course, eliminating stress from your life may sound as if it is easier said than done, but there are things you can do from anywhere to lower your stress and put less pressure on your heart. Here are just a few that have been discussed by the American Heart Association:

  1. Practice Positive “Self-Talk” Every Day
    By reciting positive notes to yourself every day, you can learn to turn negative thoughts into positive ones and help lower your stress level. Here are some examples.
    • “I can get help if I need it”
    • “We can work it out”
    • “Things could be worse”
    • “ Some day I’ll laugh about this”

  2. Learn What Emergency Stress Is For You, and How To Stop It
    • Count to 10 before you speak
    • Take 3 to 5 deep breaths
    • Go for a walk
    • Walk away from the stressful situation and return to it later
    • Break down big problems into smaller parts and do one piece at a time

  3. Another easy way to lower your stress is to practice daily relaxation. That doesn’t just mean sitting in front of the T.V. and turning off your brain, but deeply relaxing. Like most things, relaxation takes practice, but you can learn over time what type of relaxing technique works for you. Here are some tips on ways to get started:
    • Sit in a comfortable position with your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap or lie down. 
    • Picture yourself in a peaceful place, which may be the beach, on top of a mountain, or even on a cloud. Hold this image in your mind.
    • Inhale and exhale and focus on breathing slowly and deeply
    • Continue to breathe slowly for 10 minutes or more
    • Try to take at least 5 to 10 minutes every day for deep breathing or a different form of relaxation.

Dr. Arash Bereliani, Dr. Bereliani Cardiologist, Arash Bereliani M.D.

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