For hundreds of years the heart has always been seen as a symbol of emotion, although this has been in direct contrast to psychologists claims that emotions are solely mental expressions produced by the brain. So which is it? Is emotion linked to the brain or to the heart?
Recent studies have shown that the emotions are as a result of the heart, brain, and body working together. It is therefore no surprise that there has been discussion revolving around whether emotional stress is linked to heart health, and that is what we will be exploring below.
What Does The Research Say?
Current research on the link between emotional stress and heart health is inconclusive, with some researchers saying that there might be a possible connection. For example, one study has shown that anxiety and depression puts you at a greater risk of heart failure or a heart attack in the future.
Furthermore, people with heart disease who also suffer from depression and anxiety are more likely to remain in hospital for a longer time. On the other hand, studies are unsure about whether emotional stress is the sole cause of heart disease, or whether it is a negative health risk which reduces your overall wellness.
What we are sure of is that there is a relationship between heart disease, anxiety, and high blood pressure, and below we will try and explore this relationship further.
What Is The Relationship Between Emotional Stress And Your Heart?
Emotional stress has a negative impact on your body, and this can be explained via a chain reaction that is catalyzed by stress. When you are experiencing emotions of fright, frustration, anxiety, anger, tension, or depression, your body will automatically release the stress hormones known as adrenaline and cortisol.
These “fight or flight” hormones work to effectively deal with stress, and their release into your body will cause your heart beat to increase in pace, your blood pressure to rise (hypertension), and your blood vessels to narrow.
Once you have calmed down and your stress has abated your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal. However, if you are constantly in a stressed out mood, then your heart never has an opportunity to recover and this can result in damaged artery walls.
Furthermore, the high blood pressure and inflammation caused by emotional stress increase the risk of heart problems and heart disease. High blood pressure also increases the occurrence of blood clots which cause heart attacks.
All in all, it is quite clear that too much stress on a consistent basis is bad for you heart.
In order to reduce the negative impact of stress on our heart, it is important to manage it as best as we can. While research is still ongoing, managing stress may be an effective way to prevent heart disease.
Unfortunately, many people decide to deal with stress in unhealthy ways, such a drinking too much, smoking, and overeating- all of which can contribute to heart disease. However, keeping your emotional stress under control with the following healthy methods will protect you from heart disease and associated problems.
So if you are feeling stressed try out these simple tips:
- Be active: When you participate in exercise you have the chance to burn off all your excess energy and stress, as well as getting rid of all tension and anxiety.
- Meditate: When you are feeling stressed, get yourself in a relaxed and reflective mood by meditating, doing yoga, journaling, listening to music, reading a book, and praying. These methods allow you to calm and clear your mind, in turn relieving all stress you might be feeling.
- Socialize: When you are feeling out of whack, getting together with the people you love can ease your stress. Social connections have been proven to reduce incidences of high blood pressure.
- Stay away from stressful situations: One thing is clear; you get stressed when you are placed in a stressful situation. Therefore if you want to avoid stress you should avoid being in situations which are known to increase your stress levels.
As you can see from the information provided above, there is still a long way to go in proving a direct link between emotional stress and heart health. However, the evidence we presented seems to lean in the affirmative direction, meaning that you need to manage your stress in order to protect your heart.
With this in mind, it is wise to start implementing the tips given above in order to reduce the risk of heart disease. Good luck on your journey!Read More