What You Might Not Know About Stress Could (Literally) Kill You

We all have stress to one degree or another. Stress is everywhere in our modern society:  work, finances, health, relationships, you name it. Learning how to manage, however, can mean a healthier, longer life

Mainstream medicine is finally making the connection between your emotions and your health. Shyam Prabhakaran, M.D., head of cerebrovascular disease and neurocritical care at Rush University Medical Center confirms this in a recent article stating, “Now we’re realizing how interwoven emotions and [diseases] are.”

In some ways, I think we all know stress is bad. What’s surprising though, is just how bad. For example, did you know stress raises your blood pressure and makes your blood stickier? This makes for a perfect recipe for a blood clot which can lead to a stroke.

And consider this:  a recent National Institute On Aging study found that people who were aggressive and angry most of the time had thicker carotid arteries than those who were more calm and easygoing. If severe enough, a thickened carotid artery may clot and block blood-flow to the brain.

So the lesson to be learned? Relax. Eliminate as much stress as you can in your life.

Here are 4 great ways to do that:

1. Take up a meditative practice. Yoga is a great choice. You’ll work on your flexibility and strength – all while relaxing! Other choices include Tai Chi or traditional meditation.

2. Breathe. Believe it or not, deep breathing is a great stress reliever you can use at any time. Simply take a deep breath in through your nose. Hold your breath for a count of 3 and then slowly exhale through the mouth. Do this at least 5 times next time you start feeling anxious or worried.

3. Exercise. Working out is a proven stress-reliever. As you work out, your body releases endorphins, those “feel good” hormones that will brighten up your day and let you toss your worries aside.

4. Put things in perspective. Sometimes all you need to relieve a little stress is to realize that the problems or situation may not be as bad as you think. Socrates wrote to this very point, expressing that if all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, where each had to take an equal portion, most would be content to take their own.

Constant stress seems like the norm in today’s world. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Take some time out to relax … reduce your worry … and enjoy life a little more each day.


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