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Warning! Are You Protecting Your Heart in Times of Stress?

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The sad fact is that heart attacks do happen, especially when people are the most susceptible. Susceptibility means when your emotional, mental and physical health is stressed and likely at its worst.

Here’s a prime example… When in the year do we eat the worst, rarely exercise, have little sunshine and sleep and drink too much alcohol? You guessed it- during the holiday season. This type of “holiday stress” is a literal killer. I have seen it hundreds of times.

It grieves me to say that the holiday season is not our only encounter with the “S” word.

In the 21st century, stress is nearly constant. We are perpetually bombarded by money concerns, family crises, work-related issues and more.

A Patient Story

A recent email came in from a patient with a history of a heart attack. His stress levels are sky-high, and he explained what was going on….His wife is extremely sick with Stage 4 cancer and the prognosis is dire. He is all-consumed with her, but understands, with reason, that if his health fails, the whole family will be in dire straits.

I dedicate this post to him and the many like him.

Cultivate a Healthy Heart  Despite the Stress- 10 Tips:

1.Talk about it-  Keeping your emotions bottled up during times of stress can be catastrophic. Reach out to family, friends, doctors, clergy and anyone else to help calm and diffuse the situation. These people can help you in many different ways. Just like my patient reached out to me, seek comfort in your tribe.

2. Get Your Zzzzz’s-  I know it can be tough as the stress of any situation can understandably keep you up at night. But getting in bed with the sundown and out of the artificial light will give you the best chance of a good night’s rest. For more on this topic, read how Quality Sleep Lowers Blood Pressure.

3. Eat Right-  Under stress, most people reach for cookies, ice cream, or potato chips. Sometimes all of the above. Fight the urge and make the healthiest choices possible. We are all going to slip. If you do, make it an organic slip and maintain the gluten-free program. We highly recommend an ancestral paleo diet for best heart healthy results!

4. Let the Sunshine in-  My entire family loves to get outside in the sun each and every day. Sunshine is well-known to lower stress and improve mood. Even 5 minutes of sun will brighten your day. Want to prevent coronary artery disease? Let the sun in daily.

5. Don’t Binge on Alcohol-  One drink can help take the edge off, even for me. But don’t compromise and overdo it or make it a cocktail laden with sugar and pesticides. I stick to just a small glass of organic tequila, on an infrequent occasion. Anything more than this will have a negative impact on health.

6. Get Active–  Again, do it outdoors whenever possible. Walking, hiking, biking outside in nature are just what the doctor ordered. For more information, see our Top 4 Exercises to Lower Blood Pressure.

7. Enjoy some Tunes-  It doesn’t have to be classical, but soft music will improve your parasympathetic tone and take you out of a “fight or flight” state. Try the Eagles, John Legend, or Carole King to name a few of my personal favorites.

8. Learn the Slow Flow– Get a massage or do a gentle yoga class.  Yoga and massage both work to lower blood sugar. Massage decreases  blood pressure and heart rate, allowing the muscles to relax, while yoga improves respiration, energy, and vitality. Together, they are the perfect combination to relieve stress.

9. Cultivate an Online Community. Sometimes it can be challenging to find others in your local area who are on the same wellness journey. Thankfully, there are thousands of Facebook groups with people just like you. We invite you to join other like-minded people in our growing Natural Heart Doctor community on Facebook. Join us here to continue the conversation!

10. Get Adjusted- A chiropractic adjustment can be just what your body needs to reset its nervous system and break out of the “fight or flight”  (sympathetic) state.

3 Key Supplements for Stress

Magnesium- 3 caps of Magne 5 taken at bedtime

Li Zyme– 2 tabs daily to boost parasympathetic (rest and digest) state.

Relax Cherry– a delicious powder that does just what the name says…helps you create a calm and relaxed state of mind.

Get control of stress….or pay the price!

As you can see, learning to cope well with stress is critical to your health. If you don’t, you will likely suffer dire consequences as heart attacks, stroke, cancer and dementia feed on stress.

If you need help, we are here to help. Schedule a call with one of our NHD health coaches and take control of your own health. The health coaches are skilled in stress management and lifestyle techniques that will help you on your wellness journey.

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