Uptight Is Not Alright For Your Heart

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By Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

Five Questions to Determine if Stress is Putting You at Risk for Heart Disease.

stress1. Have you heard that stress can be a risk factor for heart disease? That’s because chronic stress exposes elevated, unhealthy, levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Studies have also found that stress impacts the way blood clots which increases the risk of heart attack.

2. How do you personally handle stress? One person may find an event joyful and exciting, but another person may find the same event miserable and frustrating. Certain people may handle stress in ways that make bad situations worse by reacting with feelings of anger, guilt, fear, hostility, anxiety, and moodiness whereas others may face life’s challenges with ease.

3. Do you know what people, situations or incidents trigger stress in your life? Stress can be caused by a physical or emotional change, or by a change in your environment that requires you to reconsider, adjust or respond. Stressors can be anything from minor hassles, major lifestyle changes, or a combination of both. When you are able to identify stressors in your life and manage them you will be able to release the tension cased by the stressors.

4. Do you have any of these going on in your life right now?

  • Illness, either personal or of a family member or friend
  • Death of a friend or loved one
  • Problems in a personal relationship
  • Work overload
  • Starting a new job
  • Unemployment
  • Retirement
  • Pregnancy
  • Crowds
  • Relocation
  • Daily hassles
  • Legal problems
  • Financial concerns
  • A need to be perfect
  • Bottling up your emotions

Are you aware that when you are exposed to long periods of stress, your body gives warning signals that something is wrong?

5) Are you aware that when you are exposed to long periods of stress, your body gives warning signals that something is wrong? These physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral warning signs should not be ignored. They are flashing lights telling you that you need to slow down, reassess and manage. If you continue to be stressed and you don’t give your body a break, you are likely to develop health problems that can show up as heart disease.

Below are some common warning signs and symptoms of stress, according to WebMD.com:

Physical signs

Dizziness, general aches and pains, grinding teeth, clenched jaws, headaches, indigestion, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, racing heart, ringing in the ears, stooped posture, sweaty palms, tiredness, exhaustion, trembling, weight gain or loss, upset stomach

Mental signs

Constant worry, difficulty making decisions, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, lack of creativity, loss of sense of humor, poor memory

Emotional signs

Anger, anxiety, crying, depression, feeling powerless, frequent mood swings, irritability, loneliness, negative thinking, nervousness, sadness

Behavioral signs

Bossiness, compulsive eating, critical attitude of others, explosive actions, frequent job changes, impulsive actions, increased use of alcohol or drugs, withdrawal from relationships or social situations

If you can identify with any of these stressors and warning signs it is time for you to get some help. You may need a life coach to help you manage and prioritize your tasks, you may need to delegate your responsibilities, you may need to ask others for help, you may need to cut back on commitments, you may need to find physical outlets for your tensions such as exercise and sports, you may need to seek a financial repair specialist, you may need to seek counseling, or the help of an advisor, you may need to find a spiritual connection for yourself, you may need to learn new ways to cope with your life and find more examples of where you can experience joy rather than stress. The main point is not to ignore the warning signs and to prevent heart disease before stress claims you as a victim.

– Dr. Kac Young – www.HeartEasy.com