**Stress and Heart Health
-Sometimes stress can be useful.
-But constant stress can affect overall well-being and may even impact heart health.
-Heart disease is another potential stress-related problem.
-Stress may lead to high blood pressure, which can pose a risk for heart attack and stroke.
-Stress also may contribute to such cardiovascular disease risks as smoking, overeating and lack of physical activity.
-Chronic stress has been shown to be associated with increased cardiovascular events.
-A 2017 study in The Lancet that used images of part of the brain involved with fear and stress and found links between stress and cardiovascular disease episodes. Brain activity was studied along with bone marrow activity and artery inflammation.
-These findings illustrate mechanisms through which emotional stressors can lead to cardiovascular disease in human beings
**Stress, Mental Health and Your Heart
-Mental health can positively or negatively impact your physical health and risk factors for heart disease and stroke, according to “Psychological Health, Well-Being, and the Mind-Heart-Body Connection,” a scientific statement in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
-Chronic stress is when stress is constant and your body is in high gear off and on for days or weeks at a time.
-Chronic stress may lead to high blood pressure, which can increase risk for heart attack and stroke.
-Managing stress is good for your health and well-being.
-Negative psychological health / mental health is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
-But positive psychological health is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and death.
**The Relaxation Response
-The relaxation response is the rest and digest part of the nervous system.
-It basically undoes the work of the stress response after a stressful situation.
-The relaxation response happens when we feel safe, nurtured or taken care of.
-It can block effects from your body’s response to stress.
-This is good for your mental and physical health.
**Effective Relaxation Techniques
-The most effective relaxation technique is one that works for you!
-Different relaxation techniques will help different people at different times.
-What works for you this week, may not work next week.
-But it might work again next month.
-Our needs vary and so it’s important to have a toolbox of relaxation techniques to help you on a regular basis.