The causes of stress can be similar, yet different, for everyone. Cause notwithstanding, stress can result in high blood pressure or more serious cardiovascular issues. Dealing with it in a constructive way is vitally important.
Something personal, like a death in the family, marital or relational troubles, debt or problems at work can trigger stress. Being apart from loved ones, friends and family members can also lead to stress. On the broader scale, news of school shootings, the economy or trouble elsewhere in the world may cause personal anxiety, although an individual may be far away from the incident. No matter the cause, how you handle stress influences your health.
How you react to stress
Situational stress, the reaction to a stressful event, increases heart rate and blood pressure. In most cases, once the initial cause of stress is emotionally processed, breathing gets back to normal, the heart slows down and blood pressure returns to normal levels. But prolonged reaction can lead to more serious cardiovascular issues. That’s why common sense cardiovascular maintenance like eating properly, getting enough rest and regular exercise is so important.
The actual impact of experiencing stressful events on the body is being researched. One thing is certain: behavioral responses to stress can be directly reflected in your cardiovascular health. If someone responds to unpleasant news by smoking at all or eating or drinking too much, those activities obviously have a negative impact on heart health and blood pressure. Heart attacks are the number one cause of death in America with strokes ranking fifth. On the other hand, a person is much better off by responding as calmly as possible to bad news without diving into bad habits.
What is mental resilience?
Mental resilience is recognized by the American Psychological Association as adapting well to stressful events or unexpected change. Basically, mental resilience is defined by your ability to “bounce back,” or at least cope with stress with as little anxiety as possible. You can’t avoid stress but strong mental resilience helps you handle it. It also helps your heart. Sadness and grief are normal parts of a person’s psychological make-up. To feel them without being self-destructive leads to mental resilience.
Help your heart while improving mental resilience
Regular exercise, a proper diet and getting enough rest all help your vascular health. They also strengthen your ability to bounce back after hearing bad news or experiencing stress.
Make your mind up to deal with the issue at hand. Determine a solution and set a goal to achieve it. In addition, try to keep what you are dealing with in its proper place. Looking at the total picture offers a sense of perspective that may help you move on more quickly.
Seek help. If you are concerned about how you respond to certain situations, consult your physician for guidance. A prescribed diet and exercise program could set you on a path that will improve your health and mental resilience.
Support groups are another option. They may be as simple as your immediate circle of friends and family or they may be more organized to target a specific issue. Organizations created for people going through a particular common problem, such as the loss of a spouse or loved one, are good tools in fostering comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.
Positive thinking is more than just a catch phrase. It truly helps in developing mental resilience. Focus on your long term goals, where you are now and how you can get beyond obstacles. Determine where you want to end up emotionally and keep your eye on that destination. Avoid wallowing in the current source of your stress. Acknowledge it, and then make up your mind to go forward.
The positive impact of rest and relaxation, proper diet and lifestyle choices and exercise help everyone’s cardiovascular health and lead to stronger mental resilience.
To learn more about mental resilience and its impact on cardiovascular health, log on to vascularhealthclinics.org.