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Stress taxes your emotions and can take a toll on your physical health. If you’re juggling a career with family life, raising kids or caring for aging parents, you may feel overwhelmed. Even positive things, like planning a vacation or moving to a dream house, can heap stress onto your plate. While you may not be able to get rid of all the stress in your life, you can take steps to reduce it and improve your heart health. Fortunately, it’s possible to manage stress in healthy ways.
Seek out time with friends and loved ones for fun and support. Studies show that social isolation increases the risk of heart disease. Social isolation has been linked with risky behaviors, like physical inactivity and smoking, which can lead to heart disease.
Exercise raises endorphins, which boost mood, and keeps your heart healthy through improved fitness. The American Heart Association recommends moderate aerobic exercise 30 minutes per day, five days a week. Walking at least 10,000 steps per day and motivate yourself.
If you use food as a coping mechanism, pack healthy snacks for when you know you’ll be out, avoid situations where you might make unhealthy choices and plan meals in advance.
Research shows that optimism improves health. For instance, one recent study showed that optimism improved recovery from acute coronary syndrome.
Self-care is important. Women are so busy being caretakers for kids, their spouses and everyone else that they neglect their own health. Make sure to take time out for eating well, exercising and having hobbies that bring you joy.