About 77% of Americans say that they regularly experience physical symptoms from stress. Cardiologists are suggesting relaxation for better heart health, along with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
It’s common knowledge that exercising and eating are key ways to stay heart healthy and maintain a healthy weight. However, taking care of mental health and stress levels often slips under the radar.
According to research studies, approximately 47% of our time awake is spent thinking about something other than that moment. People have a hard time focusing on the now and tend to stress too much about the future.
These tendencies can lead to higher levels of stress and anxiety, potentially leading to higher blood pressure and heart attacks.
Dr. Joon Sup Lee, chief of the Division of Cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and co-director of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute sat down for an interview explaining why cardiologists are suggesting relaxation for better heart health.
She said that meditation and relaxation can help to relieve stress and clear the mind of anxieties. Slowing down breathing and easing muscle tension caused by stress also helps to stimulate a healthy blood flow.
When blood flow is decreased due to poor circulation or tightened arteries, high blood pressure can occur.
“There are patients who have made concerted effort to incorporate meditation into their lives and have derived considerable benefit, but majority of patients find it challenging to make such lifestyle changes. Those who are able to stick with it, in general, seem to perceive a significant benefit,” Lee stated.
Many people focus on physical health, which is a good thing, but mental health is just as important when dealing with stress and anxiety. It’s hard to stick to a schedule where 10-20 minutes of quiet time and stretching occur daily when someone would rather be out running.
Exercise releases endorphins and reduces stress, but only temporarily. If people can learn to meditate and relax their minds and bodies, their overall lifestyle will change for the better.
There is a strong tie between chronic stress and coronary artery disease, studies have found. While we cannot eliminate all stress factors from our lives, we can change how to respond to it and how we deal with it.
Taking care of your body by relaxing and meditating should become part of your health routine. Try to find at least 10 minutes each day to sit in peace.
Additionally, try to be more present in the moment. When you’re out to lunch eating, try to focus on what you’re eating, your surroundings, and how you feel. Focusing on something that isn’t happening the present only detracts from the positivity happening around you.