Modern life is complicated. We all have appointments to keep, bills to pay and conflicts to resolve. So it comes as no surprise that stress, or uncontrolled worrying, has become part of life for most people. That’s not necessarily bad. Almost every person experiences anxiety periodically, and that can actually be beneficial. An occasional burst of anxiety can help you respond effectively to life’s challenges.
Prolonged, severe stress or anxiety, how – ever, can harm physical health and expose you to an increased risk of heart disease. What happens in the mind affects the body, and there is a harmful connection between a high level of stress and physical health. Persistent worrying is an independent risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases and those who display the most anxiety, fears and internalize their emotions are far more likely to suffer a heart attack early when all others factors like age, cholesterol, blood pressure, education and marital status are matched.
Stress is a part of life and an emotion we all share. If you spend more than one hour per day worrying, or if you are suffering impairment in any area of your life due to anxiety or stress, it would be wise to seek professional help. When a person is under constant stress, there are a lot of things happening in the body. Blood pressure and heart rate increase as do the stress hormone levels of adrenaline and cortisol.
The physical symptoms of stress and anxiety can vary from person to person, but some of the most common are disrupted sleep, palpitations, dizziness, sweating, irritability, muscle tension and tremors, concentration difficulties and fatigue.
Managing stress and anxiety is by putting some distance between you and your fears. By repeatedly confronting your worst fears, you tend to lose the power over your mind. If you can make your brain find anxiety producing thoughts less threatening you can get a control over your head. The more we try not to worry about something, the more we worry about it.
Focusing on the intrusive thought will ultimately reduce its frequency, intensity and duration. Take control and learn how to manage your anxieties and stress. When you have extreme anxiety, it affects everyone in the family.
The most intense form of stress and anxiety is a full-blown panic attack that may mimic signs of a heart attack like chest pain. Panic attacks are so intense that they can literally become hazardous to the heart. ‘Scared to death’ is not just a figure of speech, but a reality when life’s stresses really get to you. But do not try to self-diagnose if you think you or a companion might be having a heart attack.
Best Way to Control Stress – Just Take it Easy
Here are some tips designed to help you cope with everyday stress and anxiety and help prevent worries from spiraling out of control.
Talk with family and friends.
When you feel connected to the most important people in your life, worries have a way of becoming more manageable.Try to be forthcoming about your fears with family, friends and doctor.
Be physically active every day.
Embrace the benefits of daily physical activity. Not only will your physical health benefit from getting and staying active, the feel-good endorphins that are released during exercise can combat some of the worries of everyday life.
Remember to slow down – and laugh along the way.
Learning to slow down in today’s hectic society can be harder than it sounds. Try yoga, meditation or mindfulness training. Explore life’s positive aspects. Learn what calms you, makes you happy and gives you joy. You don’t have to sit back and let stress and anxiety control your life.
Give up bad habits.
Some things are even more harmful than stress and anxiety. Smoking, drinking and overeating can ease stress initially but these are not healthy behaviors. They only make things worse in the long run.
Your doctor can help
Stress and Anxiety are modifiable risk factor for heart disease. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice. With doctors, nurses, educators, dietitians, physical therapists and support staff, there’s almost always a collection of individuals who are there to support you and help you improve your health. Depending on what’s causing you stress and anxiety, you might find that the solution lies within the doctor’s office. Have a complete medical check-up. Normal reports can provide a huge relief and abnormal ones can be set right. If your stress and anxiety is more broad based, you may need medication, psychological-behavioral therapy or both. It’s not so much about the stress itself but your response to it. Tension and anxiety therapy is about learning healthier ways to deal with stress. Anyone can learn these techniques. Once you understand that you are prone to anxious responses, you can change the way you react and that, in turn, will lessen your risk and make your life more pleasant and enjoyable in other ways, too.
Square up your breathing
During bouts of stress and anxiety, your breathing can get faster and shallower, leading to feelings of even greater panic as your body struggles to get enough air. It’s a vicious cycle. But if you can slow down your breathing, you’re halfway to feeling calm again.
Four-square breathing: an effective self-calming technique for stress
- Breathe in through your nose for four seconds.
- Hold that breath for four seconds.
- Exhale for four seconds
- Pause for four seconds before starting the next breath.
Do a set of at least 10 breaths. When you’re anxious, it takes a little while for the brain to get the message that it’s safe to calm down. So repeat as often as required.
Remember there are certain things which you can control and certain which you cannot. Taking tension, stress and anxiety for things – which are outside your control or which you cannot change – is futile. Research shows almost 90% of what we stress or worry about never happens. So take it easy and appreciate the wonder of life.