Reducing stress can help your health

BOSSES at a health charity have issued a series of tips for Hartlepool people wanting to improve their heart’s health.

Numerous factors could be putting you at risk of heart disease.

But today, officials at the British Heart Foundation have given some much-needed advice as part of the Hartlepool Mail’s Race For Fitness campaign, which aims to get people into shape in Olympic year.

It comes at a time when one in 20 Hartlepool people is living with a heart disease.

Here is the first of three articles offering vital advice for people wanting to keep their heart healthy.

Stress is not a direct risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but it’s possible that it may contribute depending on your coping mechanism.

Some people cope with stress with risky behaviour – such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol and over-eating. These increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

There is no evidence to suggest that stress causes coronary heart disease or heart attacks. But if you have coronary heart disease and experience feelings of anxiety or are under lots of stress, it may bring on symptoms like angina.

Changing your lifestyle in a positive way can help you feel better able to cope with some of the demands put on you. A balanced diet and regular physical activity will help you cope with stress.

If you often feel stressed or anxious, it’s important to learn how to relax. Some people find that physical activity, yoga or other relaxation techniques can help. You could make a list of things that help you to relax and schedule one every day.

You may need to identify situations that make you feel stressed at home or at work and try to avoid them if you can.

You could also learn techniques for managing stress. If you think you are stressed or very anxious, talk to your GP who will be able to help you decide on the best way to deal with it.