EAP Corner

Your Emotional Health Impacts Your Heart Health

Change your brain and give your heart a boost. We now have “heart” evidence showing that we need to consider the mind and the body as we approach health and wellness. We cannot compartmentalize anymore. The connection between the brain and your heart health is there. Stress reactions impact your heart. Research is showing that when you control worry and stress, not only will you feel better mentally and emotionally, you will put less stress on your heart. This probably shouldn’t surprise us as we know that chronic stress impacts our body in many different ways. (Srini Pillay, 2016) Perhaps our mental state can be our indicator of how we are doing physically at taking care of ourselves.

Research is showing that “how” you react to stress impacts your heart. If you use stress to positively motivate you and get you going (perhaps perceiving that the stress is doable), it is significantly different than if you react to stress with anger or irritability. This latter reaction makes you more likely to have heart disease or a heart attack. Fatigue, stress, anxiety and depression may be the result of unhealthy stress. Your “reaction” or “response” to stress may be a bigger indicator of a risk of heart problems than smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. (American Psychological Association, 2017)

There is so much evidence regarding this link between the emotions and the heart that a new area of psychology has sprung up called cardiac psychology. (Srini Pillay, 2016) The message in this is that we need to address our stress and how we are dealing with it. Practice prevention by adding your emotional health into the physical prevention lifestyle. Look for ways to identify the sources of stress, learn how to manage and cope with stress in a positive way. If we are connected with our feelings and emotions, we can better manage situations that come our way, handle life’s challenges and be better able to bounce back after a negative situation occurs, therefore protecting our heart from physical distress.

Works Cited:
American Psychological Association. (2017, Nov 20). Mind/body health: heart disease. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/heartdisease. aspx: www.apa.org

Srini Pillay, M. (2016, May 9). Managing your emotions can save your heart. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/.

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