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Tips to Beat Stress for keeping Head & Heart Healthy

29 Sep 2015

I got a heart full of pain, a head full of stress and a handful of anger held in my chest”

 When you’re under stress, do you:

  • panic?
  • procrastinate?
  • work too much?
  • Resort to eating to calm down?
  • speak and eat very fast?
  • drink alcohol or smoke?
  • sleep too little, too much or both?
  • Feel fatigued?
  • Try to juggle between too many things?

 

If the answer to any one is yes..read on..

Heartaches happen for real and stress definitely is a big reason for them. The relationship between stress, heart disease and loss of life has been well researched and accepted since times immemorial. Natural disasters, unexpected sudden sources of stress like a loss of loved one increase the incidence of heart attacks following the acute stress and resulting “fight or flight’ responses. There is another category of people prone to heart ailments resulting from their own behaviour like smoking, drinking other faulty lifestyles or because of harbouring dangerous traits like anger, hostility, aggressiveness, time urgency, inappropriate competitiveness and preoccupation with work.

But how can something like stress which is experienced by the individual subjectively cause  a physical disease?

Stress is experienced by everyone in different ways and everyone has a different coping style. How it affects you and how you react to it can lead to multiple emotional and physical consequences ranging from depression to high blood pressure to irritable bowel syndrome. Under stress some people resort to negative coping behaviours like smoking or drinking, staying up a late, poor eating habits etc. So even if stress does not directly cause a heart attack it increases the vulnerability of the body to break down under stress due to poor faulty behaviours a person resorts to while under stress. Your body's response to stress may be a headache, back strain, or stomach pains.

Studies show that acute stress triggers reduced blood flow to the heart, promotes your heart to beat irregularly and increases the likelihood of your blood clotting.  All of these can trigger the development of cardiovascular disease. Stress can also deplete your energy, make you feel chronically fatigued, affect your sleep and make you feel cranky, forgetful and out of control.

Under such circumstances people may choose to drink too much alcohol or smoke cigarettes or over eat or binge on unhealthy foods to “manage” their chronic stress, however these habits can increase blood pressure and may damage artery walls.

 

What can you do to beat the stress?

Plan your day, week…and more: organise yourself, set realistic goals, ask for help if you need it and deal with one problem at a time Take things one step at a time and accept if something doesn’t work. Keep alternative modes of action and activities ready if things don’t go as planned. Remember it s not the end of the world.

Maintain a good social circle : Stay connected with others especialy when under stress as being with people you love and people who care for you can help you sail thtough any tough phase with some ease. surround yourself with supportive family, friends, co-workers; join groups, volunteer, socialise; having support and being with others lifts your mood and helps you better deal with stress when it happens

Think Positive: Every time you falter, remind yourself that you are a strong a person and keep telling yourself that you can deal with any difficulties  Indulge in positive self-talk and never lose hope. Know that you can control how you respond to stressful situations; e.g. either by anger or not, by worrying or taking decisive action etc.

Have atleast 20 minutes of exercise in your daily routine. Any type of exercise , even walking  releases feel-good chemicals into the body, helps you sleep better and contributes to your overall physical health, making you better able to cope with difficulties

Eat healthy: Fresh and dry fruits, milk or green vegetables are some type of foods that can make you feel energised and able to cope with stressful times. Eating too sugary and salty foods may give momentary relief from stress but actually they are only adding to your falling health.

Indulge in at least one pleasure driven activity daily . It could be something as small as watering the plants or reading for pleasure or it could be something very active like cycling etc.

Be Mindful and observe your feelings and thoughts as an observer and not someone who is experiencing all of it.  Relax and get in touch with your spiritual side or inner you. This would lead to acceptance of the stressful situation and you would be peacefully able to analyse your situation and find a way out.

Seek Professional help; if you feel you just can’t cope, and stress goes on for too long it can lead to serious health problems including pain, heart disease and depression. Seek a psychologist or counsellor s help as soon as possible and they will help you navigate through this tough phase of your life.

 

If you are under stress and want to get past it, 

Just Click the pink button on the left and Type Hi to begin consultation with ePsyClinic's leading Psychologists Now 


Tags: #heart #stress #mind