Stress is the way our body responds to challenges. Our body physically prepares to fight or run away. We might start sweating; feel our heart racing or our muscles might tense up. Having some stress is good because it can motivate us to work hard, achieve goals and solve problems. The trick is keeping it at a healthy level. When stress isn’t managed, we can feel overwhelmed by problems and can experience more serious physical symptoms, such as headaches, lack of sleep, or even heart disease, if the stress is longer lasting.
How can stress impact your overall heart health?
Stress can increase your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and cause disturbances in heart rhythm. Stress can also cause people to exercise less, eat in a less healthy way and engage in unhealthy behaviours to cope like smoking,which can also contribute to heart disease.
What can we do to maintain a healthy amount of stress?
Identify a problem that causes you stress and take action as soon as possible to try to resolve it. Talking to someone can help. It can help them understand what you are going through.
You might want to talk to a family member, a friend or a professional. They can help you problem solve and break things down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Organize your schedule and keep your everyday goals realistic. Try healthier strategies to quiet your mind, like meditation, breathing exercises, reading, physical activities or hobbies.
Where can we find more information?
You can go to cmha.ca or call the Health Unit’s Health Action Line at 1-800-660-5853.