It is a Matter of the Heart

Lexington Herald-LeaderFebruary 8, 2012 

Stress can negatively impact many aspects of a person’s life. Stress can be linked to headaches, trouble sleeping and upset stomach. It can also have a negative affect on your heart health. Stress causes your body to react as though it is danger; it will speed up your heart, cause you to breathe faster and give you a sudden burst of energy. While this is occasionally a good thing, persistent stress can have a negative, long-term impact on your heart heath.

To protect your heart, try these tips to de-stress your day:

Create Healthy Habits
The first step to de-stressing your life is to introduce healthy habits into your lifestyle. Getting regular exercise, remembering to laugh, getting organized and giving up bad habits such as smoking, excessive drinking and consuming too much caffeine are proven to decrease stress levels and help protect your heart.

Think Positive
Mentally changing your “can’ts” to “cans” can help to lower your stress level. Thinking positively can reduce the impact of stressful situations and can produce a calmer you. Try repeating these thoughts instead of negative ones:
• “I can get help if I need it.”
• “Someday I will laugh about this.”
• “I’m human. We all make mistakes.”

Take a Breather
Taking a break and stepping away from a stressful situation can minimize the symptoms and impact of long-term stress. Count to ten, go for a walk or take a minute to break down a problem into smaller parts so it is easier to handle.

Keep Doing the Things You Love
Finding everyday activities you enjoy will help you stay relaxed and calm. Doing things you love is a natural way to fight off stress. Ideas of activities to keep your stress to a minimum include starting an art project, participating in sports, reading a book or sitting down to enjoy a meal with your family.

You are important to your family and friends, so make your health a priority. Reducing the stress in your life is important for your heart and your health. For more information on heart health or the Lexington Clinic Cardiology Department, call (859) 258-4DOC(4362).

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