Is it time to move to the Bahamas? A new study finds that the risk of a repeat heart attack increases if you’re in a stressful job (stop the presses!). This reinforces an earlier study which concluded that job stress is a major risk factor for cardiac events.
From the study:
“A job was defined as stressful if it combined high psychological demands (heavy workload, intense intellectual activity and important time constraints) and little control over decision-making, including a lack of autonomy, creativity and opportunities to use or develop skills.”
What’s your definition of stress? It isn’t typically realistic to completely eliminate stress, but we all have different response levels to stress and therefore, different needs for coping with it.
With all the focus on dietary intervention for reducing heart disease in this country, it’s easy to forget that other factors – such as stress – play an important role in cardiovascular health, too. Too many of us are stressed out at our jobs, but lazing about eating bon bons is certainly no option (neither are lottery tickets). Here are some helpful tips and links for handling stress – both temporary and chronic.
3 Essential Tips to Remember Any Time You Are Stressed:
1. Distract and conquer.
This is not a cure, but this is an instant coping mechanism. The worst of a stressful emotion will pass in a productive, rather than destructive, manner if you can distract yourself with something. Get up, take a walk, do some push ups, hit the gym, scrub that pot that’s been soaking (you know the one), or take out the garbage. Rather than explode, react, or repress your feelings, allow yourself to have them, but physically channel that unpleasant energy until you are calm enough to deal with the stressful situation in a more objective manner. Don’t react; act.
2. Drink water.
Staying hydrated is essential. When your brain and body become fatigued, stress becomes unbearable. Rather than slurping down coffee drinks or sodas, drink plain water throughout the day. You don’t have to hit the perfect “8 glasses” mark (that’s an arbitrary rule), but stay refreshed.
3. Get it out.
Find a way to acknowledge your stress. Sometimes simply recognizing your stress is the real issue. So find a way to acknowledge your stress. This isn’t about getting rid of the stressful dilemma immediately; it’s about making it tangible so you can begin to separate yourself from it. So if talking to a friend helps, do that. If recording yourself ranting helps, do that. If regaling the mirror helps, do that. If writing it down helps, do that. If punching the wall helps…no, no, just kidding. But get it out – visibly, audibly, tangibly so.
5 Must-Read Posts for Handling Stress and Keeping Your Heart Healthy:
If you do happen to be eating bon bons (tsk tsk): here is everything we’ve ever written about stress!
Thank you all for sharing your great stress tips this week. Keep them coming in the comments!