National Stress Awareness Month couldn't have come at a better time.
With the world on high-alert because of the coronavirus, the American Heart Association wants to make sure you’re thinking about what stress can do to your heart, and wants to help you manage yours. The anxiety that the coronavirus outbreak is causing hasn't gone unnoticed. So, the AHA's website dedicates several pages to stress management, and it also helps to point out how stress can affect your heart.
Stress Awareness Month started in April 1992. Each year, healthcare professionals and health promotion experts across the country come together to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for the stress epidemic.
By learning some simple stress management tips, you can keep it under control.
What is Stress?
Stress is your body’s response to change. It’s a very individual thing. What one person finds stressful may be enjoyable to someone else.
Another thing to remember is that not all stress is bad. Speaking to a group or watching a close football game can be stressful, but it can be fun, too. Life would be dull without some stress.
Symptoms of Stress
Symptoms tend to be very vague, but there are some that are more common than others.
Symptoms of stress include:
- Upset stomach
You may also experience racing thoughts or you’ll become agitated very easily. The key is to manage stress properly because unhealthy responses to it may lead to health problems — especially chronic stress.
Stress Awareness Month Tips
It’s how you react to stress that’s important. You can’t control all the outside events in your life, but you can change how you handle them emotionally and psychologically.
Here are some good ways to cope:
- Learn to accept things you can’t change.
- Change what you can, which is how you respond. Be positive and proactive, not negative.
- Try to avoid what may upset you. For example, spend less time with people who bother you or take extra time to drive a longer, more peaceful route.
- Give yourself enough time to get things done at a more leisurely pace.
- Learn to say “no.” Don’t promise too much.
- Engage in enjoyable physical activity regularly. Letting go of the tension in your body will help you feel better.
- Limit alcohol, don’t overeat and don’t smoke.
Another thing you can do to decrease your stress is to make an appointment and talk to your doctor, nurse or other healthcare professionals.
Controlling your stress is important, especially if you have heart disease or you have had a stroke. Members of your family also may be at higher risk. It’s very important for them to make changes now to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease.
Another thing you can do is check out our guide “Cardiology Tests That Are Keeping Hearts Healthy.” These are tests that can predict how healthy your heart is and your risk of having a heart attack within the next 10 years.