Do you know that a happier you means a healthier heart? High levels of stress and anxiety can eventually lead to high blood pressure, as well as behaviours that could contribute to heart problems.
Most of us feel stressed occasionally. That’s ok!
It is when stress levels run high for a lot of the time that you need to take stock of the impact on your health and wellbeing. Take steps to de-stress for the health of your heart!
Stress-linked behaviour can lead to heart problems
Short episodes of stress won’t cause long term, high blood pressure but they do cause dramatic, short-lived spikes in blood pressure. When these spikes happen frequently, they can cause some damage to your blood vessels and heart, as well as lead to hypertension which is a risk factor for heart disease.
When you are under severe or constant stress, you may tend to overeat, neglect to exercise or battle to sleep. Eating unhealthy foods that are high in fat not only risks raising your cholesterol level, which is bad for your heart, but can also contribute to high blood pressure.
Smoking and drinking alcohol are also stress-linked behaviours that are not good for your heart. Smoking is known to cause a build-up of plaque in the blood vessels, while the chemicals in cigarettes can cause your blood to thicken and form clots. Alcohol can raise the levels of fat in your blood, which too can clog your arteries.
Ways to de-stress
Everyone feels some level of stress from time to time. Some stress can even be good for you. Your aim is to stop continual stress. Many of the things that bring you happiness are also things that can help to relieve stress, such as getting some exercise, doing something creative, spending time with friends, and enjoying your work. For tips on managing your stress, read our article on ways to de-stress.