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Stress Less for Strong Hearts

Six Ways to De-Stress for Heart Health

Your body can react to stress in different ways. In minimal doses, it boosts your body with adrenaline. Too much and you may be putting your heart at risk.

When you’re continually exposed to stress hormones, your body builds up a resistance and can override your natural flight-or-fight response. Stressed, your body may also begin to suppress your immune system.

A link between stress and heart disease is widely suspected and we can all attest to how stress can manifest itself in our daily lives. If you’ve ever skipped out on the gym, consumed some comfort food or poured a stiff drink as a result of stress, you’re experiencing the heart health risks of anxiety. Not only may stress trigger inflammation, it regularly leads people to proven risk factors for heart disease.

Here are six ways to de-stress your life – and boost heart health at the same time!

Relax Your Heart and Mind

Yoga, meditation, focused breathing – the choice is yours. Make time in your day to slow your heart, clear your mind and defuse tension, decreasing inflammatory response and high blood pressure.

Work Out the Stress

The heart benefits of exercise are more than corollary. Regular exercise can strengthen your heart and lower blood pressure while releasing endorphins that reduce stress, anxiety and depression, well-known risk factors for heart disease.

Surround Yourself with Support

Women in particular are less likely to experience recurring cardiac trouble when friends and family surround them after a heart attack. Social activity has a positive effect on stress levels, and you should feel comfortable seeking professional support if you are struggling with depression.

Spending time with friends can have the added benefit of keeping your spirits light. Laughter is widely recommended – it improves both mood and vascular function.

Keep Life Light

Staying positive, whether with friends or by minimizing your emotional investment in the little things, can lower stress hormones and inflammation. Hostility is a predictor of heart disease and grudges are known to increase stress and heart rates. You will find it feels better to let it go.

Establish Healthy Habits

No surprises here: Drinking less alcohol and caffeine and eating less red meat and carbs can stabilize your mood, minimizing stress and keeping your heart healthy. More water and better sleep are also habits to keep in mind for a low-stress life.

Learn What Works for You

When it comes down to it, you know yourself. Discover how you best de-stress and identify triggers that put you in danger. Establish limits on your time at work and learn to say no when necessary. Meditate, run, journal – set aside time each day to relax, for your heart and your stress.