Stress can dramatically affect your heart
Even if you are healthy in every other way—you exercise and you eat a truckload of vegetables—stress can still affect your heart. When you’re under chronic stress, your immune system produces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and inflammatory proteins called cytokines, including interleukin-6. This chronic inflammation leads to hardening of the arteries and heart disease.
The good news: positive emotions are like a healing balm. They obliterate the effects of stress and lead to vitality and well-being. And even if you’re not a naturally happy or optimistic person, you can take steps to make over your mind from negative to positive. Even minor things, like human touch or playing with pets, can have a dramatic impact on mood, emotional well-being, the quality of sleep and our ability to relax. Here, little ways to make your day brighter—and your heart healthier. Don’t miss these 13 things cardiologists never eat.
Laugh at least once a day
When researchers compared blood flow in people who watched a stressful movie (Saving Private Ryan) compared to people who watched a comedy like Saturday Night Live, they documented a 35 percent reduction in blood flow during the stressful movie and a 22 percent increase in circulation among those who laughed and enjoyed themselves. This increase in blood flow is on par with results from some of the most established prescription medications.