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Controlling Stress and Cardiovascular Health

Lower your cardiovascular risk: Control stress. Some people cope with stress by eating unhealthy foods, overeating, smoking, or drinking, all of which can increase cardiovascular risk. Stress can also cause a temporary increase in blood pressure and heart rate. The next time you feel tension taking over, sit back and look at what’s bothering you. Does it really matter? If you’re faced with a big problem, talk it out with family or friends. Stay close to the supportive people in your life.

Man in chair outside, relaxing with eyes closed.

Learn to relax

To reduce stress, you need to practice daily relaxation. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make special time for yourself each day to read a book, listen to music, watch the sun set, or do anything that makes you feel calm and peaceful.

  • Use your favorite kind of exercise as a perfect way to release tension.

  • Practice time management by giving yourself enough time to get things done.

  • Keep your sense of humor! If you can laugh at yourself and the crazy things that happen each day, you’ll stay happier and healthier.

  • Try deep breathing or meditation. Also, many libraries and bookstores have audio files or CDs that may help you relax.

  • Imagine stress away. When you’re feeling stress, stop what you’re doing. Imagine a peaceful scene—a warm beach or rolling green hills, for example.

  • Identify what triggers stress for you and plan ahead to avoid or prepare for those triggers.

  • If you need more help with coping, try joining a support group. Sharing problems with others can help you handle the big stresses in your life.


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