American Heart Month
February is the month of hearts—both literally and figuratively. It’s the month of chocolates, roses, and cardiovascular health. February is when the nation celebrates American Heart Month to raise awareness about how vital heart health is.
Unlike the other muscles in our body, the heart is continuously in motion, working hard to push blood through our veins and arteries. It never gets to rest.
Perhaps because it’s always working, we don’t notice it much. We go about, sure in the belief that it will always be able to do the job until it can’t.
American Heart Month is a yearly reminder to take care of our heart, and not to wait until our heart sends distress signals. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is responsible for a quarter of all deaths each year, making it the leading cause of death in America. It doesn’t have to be.
Stress and Heart Health
Heart disease can be prevented or improved by making lifestyle changes. Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, maintaining blood pressure, and reducing stress can all help to prevent heart disease.
Uncontrolled stress can cause a myriad of health problems. Stress can induce muscle and joint pain, lower the immune system, and affect the digestive tract. When it comes to the heart, stress can raise blood pressure. High blood pressure can make the heart work harder and strain blood vessels, causing the cardiovascular system to break down.
A recent study done in the British Medical Journal highlighted just how much stress is responsible for heart disease. Researchers compared the health histories of siblings and noted that stress-related disorders are strongly associated with multiple types of cardiovascular disease, regardless of family history.
Does this mean we have to avoid all stress in order to have a healthy heart? Not at all. Stress is a necessary and inevitable part of living. Some stress is even good for you. However, we do have to manage the stress that we feel.
Choose Healthy Habits
Habits don’t always have to be bad for you, like smoking or biting your nails. You can choose to pick up good habits. Create a regular exercise plan, like walking or jogging. Find ways to make it a routine. Make getting 8 hours of sleep a habit. Not only does developing good habits make you healthy, but it also takes the stress out of decision making.
Know Your Limits
Trying to continually push your mind and body past its limits can have long term ramifications. Your mind needs time to regroup. And your heart, because it never gets a day off, can’t work in overdrive for too long. Constant stress can take its toll on the body physically, but also mentally. Stress can turn into anxiety, which can turn into a disorder. Learn to identify when you need to rest physically and mentally, and then make a concerted effort to do so.
Find Ways to Relax Your Mind
Finding healthy ways to relieve stress can be difficult. The temptation is to eat a slice of cake or a tub of ice cream, neither of which is good for the heart. But quiet activities like reading, meditation, or walking can help.
A 2019 article in Scientific American linked controlled breathing, like the kind used in meditation and yoga, to cardiac health and decreased stress.
CalmiGo For Stress and Your Heart
CalmiGo can help to decrease stress and promote heart health. When you’ve reached your limit and want to relax your mind, make CalmiGo part of your breathing relaxation routine three times a day. Your heart will thank you for it.