September 29th is ‘World heart Day’. I wanted to talk about how your stress levels may be putting your heart health at serious risk.
Of course, I aware that that sounds so….. serious.
But heart health is serious isn’t it? It’s a matter of life and death when we get down to it.
The British Heart Foundation says on their website, that stress itsef does not directuly affect your heart, but it’s the behaviours that you may turn to when under stress that can affect it…
All of these increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Stress of course, may also, if persistent and over time, affect your cortisol levels and your blood pressure.
So, if you find yourself undergoing a period of stress,or perhaps you have something going on in your life which means that you are subjected to long term stress levels, and you are worried about how it will affect your physically, here are my top three tips on what you can do about it.
1. Detox the stress inducing factors from your life.
Take it seriously. Sit down and write down all of the things, including people, who are causing stress for you. Then, if you need to, talk to those people, and tell them how you are feeling. Let them know that you are working on reducing your stress levels. Hopefully they’ll be sorry to have stressed you. If not, you are within your rights to limit (or even cut) contact.
Same goes for work, or situations that cause you stress. Look at where you may be over working, or carrying the can for other people. Only YOU can reduce the work and stress load in your life but it’s important to address things.
2. Look at the behaviours associated with stress levels.
Do you reach for the cookie jar? Or are you more a whole bottle of Pinot person? Be honest with yourself and link behaviours that may be harmful to your heart health, with the things you do when life is stressful. Maybe keep a diary, and see if you can see any associations that perhaps hadn’t even occured to you.
Then, put something else in place, so that you have a plan B to go to, when life is getting the better of you. Keep something you enjoy to hand, but something that isn’t so bad for you. Talk to your friends and family and surround yourself with a support network.
3. Try the heart math technique.
By practicing breathing a certain way, you align your thoughts, your mind and your body to work in harmony to reduce stress and anxiety.
This is a great technique to practice in the morning as you start your day.
Step 1 – Start by taking deep breaths in through your nose for the count of 5, holding for the count of 5 and then releasing the breath slowly through the mouth for the count of 8. Repeat for a few minutes.
Step 2 – Now imagine that instead of breathing into your lungs that you breathe into your heart instead. Whist placing your hand over your heart, imagine the oxygen filling up your heart as you breathe in and out. Repeat this for a minute.
Step 3 – Take another deep breath in and out, this time imagine your heart filling up with your favourite colour and repeat the breaths a few more times.
Step 4 – Now, as you take a few more deep breaths in and out, focus on everything you are grateful for. Ask yourself, what am I grateful for today? What else can I be grateful for? Think about who you are grateful for, the people in your life, the things you have to be happy about. Repeat this step a few more times.
Step 5 – In the final step, bring all the other steps together. Put your hands over your heart, focus on filling your heart as you breathe, adding in the imagery of your favorite colour, while thinking about everything you are grateful for. Repeat this step until you feel relaxed, centered and at peace.
Practice these steps as often as you need to, until the anxious feelings are reduced.
By checking in with yourself every morning, and every evening and asking yourself ‘where are my stress levels at?’ you will be able to turn down those levels quite easily. Even just taking some deep breaths and giving yourself permission to ‘let go’ of the stress that you are holding onto, can actually be really effective!
Stress is a part of life. Fact. We cannot totally avoid it. We all have to deal with some levels of stress on a daily basis and this is a normal and natural part of our existence. It is how we choose to deal with stress that makes or breaks us.
Take care of your mind, your body – your heart. Because it’s the only one that you have. If you need extra help working on your stress levels, perhaps you have anxiety, then book a free clarity call with me and let’s discuss how working with me will help you be free from stress, worry and fear.
Until the next time,
Christopher Paul Jones, the Breakthrough Expert. Harley Street.