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6 Simple Communication Stress Busters for a Healthy Heart

Aug 17, 2007
If heart problems run in your family, or if your doctor has indicated that you need to take steps to protect your heart from progressive disease, one of the things you will want to do is reduce the amount of stress in your life. This can be done in many ways, and results will vary from one person to another. Overall, though, you may want to consider some of the strategies listed below to ease tension and improve your sense of well being.

1. Take a personal timeout every day. This could take the form of driving to or from work without distractions by turning off your cell phone and listening to music that you enjoy. You also could turn on a favorite talk show or pop in a CD. Banish all thoughts of work or family, except for pleasant ones, to restore a sense of peace and calm to your life. At home, have a cup of tea, read the newspaper without interruption, or take a nap after dinner. Activities like these will increase balance and tranquility.

2. Keep a writing journal to record negative and positive feelings. Writing about unpleasant events can help to work them out of your system. Research shows that spending 20 minutes in your journal exploring unhappy or difficult events for three times a week can enhance your body's immune function for up to 24 hours afterward. On the other hand, writing about positive events lets you savor them by reliving each one again.

3. Get a pet. Some studies suggest that people who stroke or play with pet dogs or cats, or even those who watch their goldfish in an aquarium for several minutes daily, can experience reduced blood pressure levels due to the animal's calming effect. Walking your dog or riding your horse offers similar benefits of bonding to nature and enjoying companionship.

4. Exercise daily. With your doctor's approval, get outdoors in nice weather and walk around the block. Fresh air, sunshine, and physical activity have been shown to reduce depression as well as medication in some people. Feeling down or anxious may contribute to the buildup of arterial plaque that can lead to heart attacks.

5. Make connections. Try to get together with friends or family members several times a month to have fun. Go to dinner, join a club, or play cards as a social or recreational outlet that will help to relieve stress and promote the production of endorphins in your body, which have been shown to have a positive effect in reducing tension that can make us sick.

6. Develop a spiritual side. Go to church, read Scriptures, and pray to God. Even medical research has reluctantly begun admitting the benefits of prayer for patients who are struggling with serious illnesses.

There are many ways to cultivate a positive outlook and improve your cardiac health. Try some of these and see what the doctor says next time you visit for a checkup.
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