You know that it is important to eat well to stay healthy, but what about managing your stress levels? Have you considered how stress is impacting your life?

Stress and inflammation 

One impact stress has on the body is an impact on your heart health. A clue as to why stress is related to heart disease is the fact that chronic psychological stress is related to an overall inflammation of the body. Once there is inflammation of the body, it can lead to a variety of diseases. Although scientists are still trying to figure out why stress makes heart disease more likely, the effect stress has on the hormonal balance of the body and inflammation could be clue as to why they are linked.

Stress and elevated cortisol 

Stress also can increase your body’s cortisol levels, which in chronic form could be very damaging. Cortisol has an important role in our bodies to help us deal with stressful situations, but it appears that when it is chronically elevated it can actually cause damage to our bodies.  A further study backed this up by finding a clear link between elevated cortisol levels and a risk for cardiovascular disease.  Plus, high blood cortisol levels were linked to an increase in death in patients with acute coronary syndrome. 

Childhood stress and heart disease 

In fact, cardiovascular disease is so connected to stress that they have even found that childhood stress or trauma is linked to getting heart disease later. The author of one study that linked the two commented, “We think early life stress increases sensitivity to a hormone known to increase your blood pressure and increases your cardiovascular risk in adult life." 

In the end, these studies are just good reminders to take the time to learn how to properly cope with the very present stress in our lives, and to consider making lifestyle changes that would help us feel more stress-free

For me, that means making decisions such as not overbooking myself, taking time to enjoy my family, good books, and interesting shows or movies, and attempting to take some time each day to slow down, journal, or sit quietly with a cup of tea thinking through life and centering my heart again on the important things in life. 

How do you keep stress levels down? 

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