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Heart Health: An easy thing to do to reduce stress

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Heart Health: An easy thing to do to reduce stress

Stress and cardiovascular health are often linked. Now, some scientists have discovered that it takes very little to improve both

It’s not a drug, at least not a traditional one. And not even a food whose miraculous properties have been unpublished discovered. But a simple, good habit which, according to some scientists, can contribute to improve our heart health and also get rid of stress. What is it about?

Heart Health: One Habit Can Improve It

According to a group of Irish researchers there is a (mental) habit that can help us keep the heart healthy and that is… gratitude. Gratitude that seems to have an incredible effect when it comes to both reacting to and recovering from acute stress. Although stress is an inevitable aspect of life, several studies over the years have shown that when it is too much and exceeds the threshold, it can have a negative impact on both mental well-being and physical health. In particular, it excessive stress can lead to hypertension, increased cardiovascular morbidity and risk of coronary heart disease.

I study

With all this in mind, some researchers from the Universities of Maynooth and Limerick (Ireland) have tried to better understand how reactions to stressful events affect our health and if there are, conversely, factors that can play a key role in rejecting it. stress. Although past research has shown that gratitude and the balance between positive and negative emotions play a key role in coping with stress, few studies to date have examined the impact of gratitude on cardiovascular recovery from “acute psychological stress.” The authors of the study, however, chose to focus on this particular aspect, discovering that, among other effects, feeling gratitude has the effect of lowering blood pressure.

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Gratitude against stress: the study

The research examined a total of 68 university students (24 men, 44 women) aged between 18 and 57 years. The experiment involved laboratory tasks that induced stress among the participants, while the researchers measured their cardiovascular reactivity and recovery in response to stress. The results proved that those who lived in a state of gratitude had lower systolic blood pressure during stress tests. This, according to the authors, means that gratitude has a powerful effect in relieving stress. It is not the first time that the (positive) effects of gratitude have been analysed. For example, a previous study found that heart patients using i gratitude diaries they showed better cardiovascular outcomes than those who didn’t.

Gratitude: how to use it to fight stress (and not only)

According to psychologists, getting into the habit of noticing what’s going well in our lives could have a positive effect on our health. The first step in any gratitude practice is to reflect on the good things that happen to us in life, big or small. They range from the simplest things like finding a parking space at home to being grateful for the support of a friend.

  • Take a moment and think about the positive things that happened to you during the day.
  • Get into the habit of writing things you’re grateful for in a journal. Try listing several.
  • Savor your experiences. Try to notice the positive moments as they happen.
  • Relive the good times. Relive the positive moments later by thinking about them or sharing them with others.
  • Write to someone. Write a letter to someone you feel grateful to. You don’t (necessarily) have to send it.
  • Tell someone you are grateful to them in person.

Moskowitz, who has long studied the impact of keeping a daily gratitude journal on stress relief and health, is now trying to understand how feeling grateful and experiencing positive emotions can help people cope with stress and improve their mental and physical health. “Putting these skills into practice will help us cope better with anything,” she explains. “And it doesn’t just apply to major stresses. It also works with the daily stress we all deal with. Ultimately, being grateful can help us be not only happier but healthier as well.” In short, “Let’s make an effort to feel gratitude every day and see how it goes”, advises the psychologist. “It may surprise us that no matter how bad things have happened to us, there are things we feel grateful for.”

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