CONVERSATIONS FOR THE HEART – Stress and the Heart
When we witness such tragic events like the human and animal suffering in Texas we obviously want to help, but at a distance it is easy to feel overwhelmed and ineffective. One of the biggest stress-inducing challenges we face is the overwhelming amount of information from TV, news outlets and social media. It seems like the world is in constant chaos. We need information, but when the information goes past being a wave and turns to a Tsunami, we need to pause and decide if this is immediately life-threatening, or just too much information.
How we deal with stress can be important for our day to day health, especially heart health. Stress affects our blood pressure, sleep, daily habits and many other health issues. It greatly impacts our entire life and our relationships. Many symptoms can emerge; shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations and ongoing fatigue should be evaluated by a physician. When we become consumed with stress it goes beyond being helpful (escaping from a dangerous situation) to being potentially a chronic problem. With the development of more sensitive testing stress-induced heart attacks are diagnosed more often (even more often in women) and stress related disorders are rising in all age groups.
Stress will never go away but how we respond to it can be changed. If you’re feeling the effects of stress consider the following stress reducing techniques.
• Turn off the TV, phone and social media
• Spend time in a quiet space, in nature if possible.
• Yoga, meditation, tai-chi, prayer or chanting, creating music, spending time with pets or other activities that bring you joy can allow the brain to “detach” from your usual routine.
• Special techniques such as biofeedback, acupuncture, manual medicine, nutritional support, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) can also be very helpful.
If you’re suffering from symptoms of chronic stress it’s important to consult your physician. The Center for Optimal Health offers multiple options for stress management including Neurofeedback, Ondamed, Acupuncture, Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, Nutritional Support.
By allowing ourselves to relax we can better comfort those around us. If we learn to calm our stress, we can also offer our own positive solutions to the problems our world faces.
Written by Alicia Williams, D.O.
Dr. Alicia Williams is an Integrative Cardiologist at The Center for Optimal Health and offers cardiac screenings for athletes age 16 and older. Call (517) 324-9400 to set up your cardiac screening with Dr. Williams at The Center for Optimal Health in East Lansing, Michigan.
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