Stress has become a common complaint of modern living. We take on too much, worry about health and wealth, and feel overwhelmed and “stressed-out” on a regular basis. Nearly half of all adults suffer the adverse health effects of stress such as muscle tension, anxiety, and high blood pressure.
In response to stress, the body releases stress hormones—adrenaline, noradrenalin, and cortisol—to prepare the body to fight. Our heart rate, blood pressure, and lung tone increase. This innate reaction served us well centuries ago when we had to fight off wild animals and protect our villages. Stress today is very different. It is chronic rather than occasional, and stems primarily from psychological rather than physical threats.
Stress has far-reaching effects on our health. It is linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure, anxiety, depression, memory loss, insomnia, muscle tension, obesity, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, and many other problems.
Minerals and vitamins for heart health that help support the body during stress include the amino acid L-theanine, B vitamins, and magnesium. These nutrients can be depleted by stress therefore taking a high quality supplement including adequate levels of vitamins for heart health (B-vitamins, magnesium) and antioxidants may be helpful.
Managing Your Stress
It is absolutely crucial to find ways to cope with stress effectively. You may want to try some of the following:
Sit in a quiet, comfortable area and close your eyes. Starting with your feet and working your way up, relax all of your muscles. Clear your mind and focus your attention on your breathing or on a calming image or sound. Breathe in slowly and deeply and then out. Do this for ten or twenty minutes.
- Breathing Techniques
Taking slow controlled breaths is a great way to promote calming. Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth. Begin by exhaling through your mouth around your tongue, then close your mouth and inhale deeply through your nose for four seconds. Hold your breath for five seconds, and then completely exhale out through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Repeat this cycle four or five times. This technique can be done anytime and anywhere.
Regular exercise helps reduce stress, promotes calming, and improves both physical and emotional well being. It also increases blood flow to muscles. walking, cycling, yoga, and Tai Chi are just a few activities to consider.
This technique involves concentrating your mind on images that make you feel calm and relaxed. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and visualize a picture or event that makes you feel calm and centered. Focus on the details: for example, focus on the sounds, images, and scents.
Dealing more effectively with stress will bring many health rewards, including fewer physical and emotional ailments and an overall improved well being. Identify the areas where you are struggling, seek help, and work on adopting positive changes. Ensure you are receiving adequate levels of vitamins for heart health from your diet or a supplement.