Feeling Stressed? Here’s How You Could Be Hurting Your Heart

February is all about the heart. Not only does it have Valentine’s Day, but it’s also American Heart Month, which brings awareness to cardiovascular disease (the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States). That’s why now is the perfect time to talk about ways to improve your heart health. And while you likely think that means improving your diet and making sure you get enough exercise, it’s also important to focus on ways to reduce chronic stress.

Chronic stress, which is when you feel stressed for an extended period of time, can lead to issues like anxiety, changes in sleep and a lack of energy. All of this excessive stress can contribute to health issues like asthma, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. And because stress releases adrenaline, it can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to rise, ultimately increasing your risk of heart disease.

Everyone feels stressed for different reasons, whether it’s figuring out how to pay your bills, meeting a tight deadline at work or dealing with a child’s behavioral issues. But no matter the cause, it’s important to manage your stress levels if you want to take care of your heart health. Here are some do’s and don’ts for how to deal with stress:

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