Everyone feels stress in different amounts and reacts to it in different ways. How much stress you feel and how you react to it can lead to a wide variety of health problems — and that’s why it’s critical to know what you can do about it.
When stress is constant, your body remains in high gear off and on for days or weeks at a time. Although the link between stress and heart disease isn’t clear, chronic stress may cause some people to drink too much alcohol which can increase your blood pressure and may damage the artery walls. Here’s the continuation of the previous article about stress and heart disease.
5. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night
We need sleep so that our bodies can produce antioxidants, heal wounds, repair DNA, and encourage activity of an anti-aging enzyme called telomerase. In a study of more than 80,000 women in the Women’s Health Initiative, women with both insomnia and prolonged sleep had the highest rate of heart disease. The midrange sleepers—those in the sweet spot of seven to eight hours—had rates about 50 percent lower.
6. Bask in the Sun
Walk in the sun for 15 minutes. Sunlight may help lift depression by activating the pineal gland and the body’s natural circadian rhythms. It helps your skin produce vitamin D, which is important for heart health. And when your skin is exposed to sunlight, a compound is released in the blood that helps to lower blood pressure.
7. Try tai chi.
This gentle meditative exercise has origins in Chinese martial arts. It involves flowing arm movements, breathing, balance, shifting of weight, and focused awareness. It can get you fit and improve balance and range of motion, but its main heart benefits are emotional. When researchers from Tufts Medical Center in Boston analyzed the existing research on tai chi—which included a total of 140 studies done on thousands of participants—they concluded that tai chi significantly reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.
When you’re under stress, do you:
- eat to calm down?
- speak and eat very fast?
- drink alcohol or smoke?
- rush around but do not get much done?
- work too much?
- sleep too little, too much or both?
- slow down?
- try to do too many things at once?
Engaging in even one of these behaviors may mean that you are not dealing with stress as well as you could. Learn how positive self-talk, emergency stress stoppers, finding pleasure and daily relaxation can help. If your stress is nonstop, stress management classes can also help. Visit http://www.freddabranyon.com for more health-related articles.