Women tend to stress more and internalize their emotions more than men. That’s not a statement of experience, or ignorance, it’s a statement of fact that has been proven through science over the years. Unfortunately, because of this internalization of emotions and stress, research is also finding that this type of stress leaves women with coronary heart disease open for great complications, including decreased blood flow to the heart.
Emotional Stress and a Woman’s Heart
In general, women tend to develop heart disease later in life than men, but younger women who have earlierheart attacks are more likely to die than men of a similar age, note the researchers, led by Dr. Viola Vaccarino of Emory University in Atlanta, GA. – MedicalNewsToday.com
Researchers tested over 500 men and women to determine how physical and emotional stress impacts their heart health.
Results from the mental stress test revealed that, compared with men of the same age, women 55 and younger had three times greater reduction in heart blood flow.
In terms of emotional stress, researchers and physicians are still trying to nail down exactly how the female body reacts to this type of stress, and why. Studies have surmised that emotional stress can cause a woman’s blood vessels to behave abnormally, constricting for no reason, wreaking havoc on the entire cardiovascular system.
Relieving Psychological Stress
For those women who have cardiovascular concerns and are at risk for complications, there are some things that you can do to relieve yourself of the psychological stress that can increase your risk for heart attack. Those include:
- Be Present: As women, we tend to internalize everything and stress about what might happen in the future, or dwell on what did happen in the past. In order to protect yourself from heart attack, or worse, you need to be present. By being present, you will learn to relax and focus on the here and now. You can’t change what happened in the past and you can only prepare for what will happen in the future. Don’t stress about it and live in the moment.
- Yoga and Meditation: There are few stress relieving techniques and methods as efficient and successful as yoga and meditation, and there’s more than just one reason these alternative methods have been around for so long – they work. Get yourself enrolled in a yoga class or two and practice some mindful meditation.
- Give Yourself a Break: Listen to your body. When it’s time to take a moment for yourself, sit down, power nap or take a walk, do it. You’re fighting for your life after a cardiac event, and you come first. If your body is telling you to slow down, then slow down. If you’re feeling tension build up in your shoulders and back, stop what you’re doing and take a break. Give yourself credit for everyday accomplishments and stop pushing yourself too far.
- Laugh, Love and Live: Sure, this sounds like a cliche for high school kids, but it’s true. Laughter is amazing medicine for stress and cardiovascular health. It’s been scientifically proven to make you healthier. So has love and a passion for life.
- Exercise: Another alternative method that has been scientifically proven to improve heart health is plain and simple exercise. Even a brisk 10 to 20 minute walk each day can make your cardiovascular system stronger.
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