February is American Heart Health month. This month we'll be taking a look at heart health and steps we can take to improve our heart health. First, we're exploring the link between stress and heart health.
Stress and Your Heart
As we have previously written in our blog, stress has an impact on our health. While more research is necessary to determine exactly how stress relates to heart disease, the leading killer of Americans, we do know that stress affects our behaviors and other health factors that can increase the risk of heart disease. These heart disease risk factors include: cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, extreme fatigue and inactivity, overeating and more. How you decide to cope with your stress can play an additional role in increasing your risk of heart disease. Some may decide to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol in excess to "control" their stress, but these coping mechanisms can increase your risk of heart disease.
How Do You Cope with Stress?
Healthy ways to manage stress are a good idea overall for your physical and mental health. Additionally, current studies are underway to determine whether managing stress is effective for heart disease prevention. As stress can commonly cause fatigue, muscle soreness, migraines, depression, skin imbalances, and more, having healthy stress management skills can help you across the board.
If you're not sure if you are coping with your stress in a healthy and productive way, ask yourself the following questions.
When I'm feeling stressed, do I:
- Drink alcohol?
- Smoke cigarettes?
- Eat to feel calm?
- Work too much?
- Sleep either too little or too much?
- Withdraw from friends and family?
- Binge watch tv?
If you identify with any of these, you may want to consider implementing healthier ways of managing stress.
Coping with Stress in a Healthy Way
Some healthy ways to manage your stress are explained below.
Rather than telling yourself "I can't do this," try "I can." It's a simple switch, although it may be more difficult than you think. The thoughts in our head are pretty instant, but if you find yourself using negative self-talk, try changing your mind. "I can do this, but it may be difficult." Remember, we're all humans and are prone to errors. Just be kind to yourself like you would your best friend!
Deep breathing exercises are great for stress, not only do they help to calm your mind but they work on the physical reactions to stress. Try inhaling for a count of 6, holding for 2, and exhaling for a count of 8.
Meditation and Yoga
Meditation and yoga can both help with mindfulness, a skill that will allow you to handle your stress. If you are in the New York area, you may want to stop by O2 Living's headquarters for a yoga class! Check out the yoga schedule here and read more about the benefits of yoga here.
CBD / Hemp Extract Oil
Here at Living Health and Wellness, we love the stress relieving benefits of our CBD/hemp extract oil products. Our organic hemp extract oil has been used for anxiety reduction and prevention. To learn more, read our blog here. If you're interested in trying O2 Living Hemp Extract Oil, you can find the 250mg here and the 1000mg here. If you're prone to muscle aches and soreness from your stress, you may want to use our O2 Living Hemp Extract Muscle Mist that penetrates sore muscles with the healing power of CBD.