Slow down the stress. Your heart will thank you.


We’re all faced with certain amounts of stress in our lives – events like planning a vacation that create joy but also unhappier events like a family illness. Some stress is ok, but too much may lead to health problems – physical as well as mental.

For example, poorly managed stress may contribute to poor health behaviors linked to increased risk for heart disease and stroke. On the other hand, people with less stress and positive mental health are also more likely to have:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better glucose control
  • Less inflammation
  • Lower cholesterol

That’s why it’s critical to know the signs of negative stress and what you can do to slow it down.

Understanding the negative

Stressful situations set off a chain of events. Your body releases adrenaline, a hormone that temporarily causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise. As a result, you may experience physical conditions like:

  • Headaches
  • Back strain
  • Zapped energy
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Crankiness
  • Forgetfulness

You also may experience negative health conditions like:

  • Depression
  • Chronic stress
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Pessimism
  • Dissatisfaction with life

What’s more, over time, stress may also contribute to poor health behaviors linked to increased risk for heart disease and stroke, including:

  • Smoking
  • Overeating
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Being overweight
  • Not taking medications as prescribed

Focusing on the positive

Fortunately, the word on stress doesn’t have to be negative. There are several things you can do to properly manage stress and maintain a more positive attitude.

  • Exercise regularly. Consider a nature walk, meditation or yoga to help relieve stress, tension, anxiety and depression.
  • Make time for friends and family. It’s important to maintain social connections and talk with people you trust.
  • Get enough sleep. Adults should aim for seven to nine hours a night.
  • Find a stimulating holiday. Choose something fun to distract you from negative thoughts or worries.

When stress is managed properly, your positive psychological health can be associated with a healthier heart – and happier outlook on life.

At Evernorth Care Group, we know that stress and mental health challenges can be difficult. Figuring out how stress pushes your buttons is an important step in dealing with it. Our integrated behavioral health clinicians are available to listen to your concerns and create a care plan to help you feel like yourself again. We offer our behavioral health care services at six locations throughout the valley. For more information visit Behavioral Health | Evernorth Care


“Stress and Heart Health.” American Heart Association. Last reviewed June 21, 2021.