If you ask the average adult today if he or she feels stressed, there is a good chance the answer would be yes. Sometimes our stress makes sense given the situations we are facing, yet at other times we cause ourselves needless strain. Over time, our bodies may indicate to us that we have caused them too much strain. Rather than get to that point, it is best to prevent stress.
While the American Heart Association says, “More research is needed to determine how stress contributes to heart disease…” they do say that stress management can improve your overall health. Being in better health may not guarantee that you never need to see a cardiologist, but it can certainly lessen the chances that you will be at risk for heart disease.
In “Stress and Heart Health” the American Heart Association poses the following questions, indicating that if you answer yes to just one of them, you may need help managing stress:
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?
In “Four Ways to Deal with Stress” the American Heart Association offers tips to for immediate stress relief and long-range solutions for managing stress over time:
To manage stress right away you can:
- Go for a walk.
- Count to 10 before you speak.
- Hug a loved one.
- Drive in the slow lane or avoid busy roads to help you stay calm while driving.
To manage stress over time, you can participate in stress relieving activities on a regular basis:
- Learn deep breathing techniques.
- Take up a hobby.
- Have coffee or a meal with friends.