“Relax” should be a prescription we all need to fill. Considering how many diseases and medical conditions that result from stress, I believe we need to prioritize the importance of stress-reducing activities in our daily lives.
In the most comprehensive scientific review conducted by the American Heart Association, anxiety, chronic stress and social stressors are linked to increase rates of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, increased levels of anger, hostility, and pessimism increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. But interestingly, traits such as optimism, gratitude and having a sense of purpose decrease that risk of cardiovascular disease.
It appears the anthem, “Don’t worry, be happy,” sung by Bobby McFerrin, is good medicine to ward off stress and fight heart disease.
Still, stress affects more than just the heart. In fact, stress has far-reaching negative effects on virtually every system in the body. Consider this exhaustive list of stress-related symptoms which in turn can lead to various illnesses:
Although stress is a normal physiological function, an evolutionary design to protect us, with a flight or fight response; unfortunately, sustained chronic stress wreaks havoc on our health. That’s why, stress should be enemy No. 1.
How do we improve our health by reducing stress? I’ve come up with at least 30 ways science says we can harness stress for success in my new book, Never Let Them See You Sweat. For details, sign up at drleigh.com.
In the meantime, listen to Bobby’s song and smile for your health’s sake.
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Dr. Leigh Vinocur is a board certified emergency physician, award-winning medical advisor in the media, corporate and healthcare sectors, and national spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians. Learn more about her new book, Never Let Them See You Sweat, at drleigh.com.