Health is a broad topic.
As I’m sure you know, the subject of health encompasses areas from physical to social, psychological, emotional, and so on.
And, it’s long been known that these areas can be interconnected.
For instance, your social well-being can affect your emotional well-being.
Granted this is on a much smaller scale here, but have you ever noticed that even something as simple as the common cold, a physical ailment, can affect your state of mind for a period of time (generally while you’re ill).
Well, for some time now studies have been conducted regarding the link between the areas of mental and physical health, namely that poor mental health can in fact lead to a number of serious, even chronic, physical health problems.
And recently, the American Heart Association has confirmed that indeed the state of your mental health can be specifically linked to the health of your heart.
How so? Let’s find out…
The Mental Health And Heart Health Connection
We mentioned briefly above that numerous areas of our health and well-being can be interconnected. But, no two areas are as connected as our mental and physical health.
In the case of the connection between mental health and heart health, it has been widely thought for some time that this link was behavioral.
Many doctors believed the picture looked something like this:
- A patient experiences depression or depressive symptoms and then they turn to poor behaviors to soothe these symptoms, such as drinking, binge eating junk foods, or smoking. As a result, these behaviors contribute to poor cardiovascular health.
But, studies have shown since these original theories that trauma, anxiety, and depression, even isolation, loneliness, and anger, can all cause exact and actual physical stress on the human body, namely the heart.
In fact, research is proving the connection so profound that the American Heart Association is now recommending mental health screening for patients with cardiovascular disease (as part of the patient’s treatment process).
What’s the science of that notion actually look like?
According to the CDC, “mental health involves how we think, feel, act, and make choices.”
Mental health disorders then involve interference in how a person thinks, feels, acts, and makes choices.
When a person experiences chronic instances of stress, anxiety, depression, etc. this has been known to cause increases in blood pressure and heart rate, reduced blood flow to the heart, and raises in hormone levels (like cortisol).
When these instances repeat over time, it can lead to the buildup of calcium in the coronary arteries, heart disease, and other conditions that can damage the heart as well (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, increased abdominal fat).
And, the link appears to go both ways.
Studies have shown that after instances of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure, patients have then developed mental health disorders such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety.
So, if your mind works like mine, you might now be thinking: this sounds like a double-edged sword!
And, to make matters worse, heart disease isn’t just a rare thing. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death in the US.
Thankfully, the flip side of these research findings is true as well!
According to the AHA in their recent findings/conclusions, “good mental health can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve overall heart health.”
Sign me up for that, right?
I’m not trying to sound light regarding a heavy subject with that above statement, but in all seriousness, that’s some great news!
In other words, you can take steps to improve your mental health or maintain good mental health and thus benefit the health of your heart!
Improving Mental Health, Improving Heart Health
We’ve all, no one on this planet is immune, been living through a global pandemic.
And frankly, I’d say most people aren’t even questioning how this relates to the subject of mental health right now.
We’ve been discussing here the link between mental health and heart health and some of you have already cozied up close to the elephant that’s been in this room as you’ve been reading.
It is not new news that this pandemic isn’t just claiming lives by way of a virus. The negative effects on mental health throughout this ordeal are becoming extreme!
And, while I’m not saying that multitudes have developed mental health disorders in the midst of this, I am saying that most everyone, at some point, has felt a bit of chest-tightening anxiety as a result of some aspect of life lived pandemic-style.
And, since we know that this can have a direct negative affect on our body, on the health of our heart specifically, we need to know how we can take action to improve our mental health and thus avoid any negative effects on our heart.
- If you do have cardiovascular disease, mental health screenings are recommended.
- Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of mental health distress.
- Practice mindfulness.
- When you wake up, intentionally begin your day with purpose.
- Set or list out specific intentions for the day.
- Ask yourself questions throughout the day regarding your purposeful intentions.
- Practice deep breathing.
- Take long, deep breaths.
- Practice breathing through your nose and out your mouth.
- As you inhale, your stomach should extend (as opposed to your chest), as you exhale, your stomach should return to its original position.
- Discuss feelings of depression or anxiousness with a friend or loved one.
- Incorporate meditation into your day.
- Get your thoughts out onto paper (or digitally). Journaling is a proven and effective method for reducing stress, depression, and anxiety.
- Incorporate moderate exercise into your daily life. Consider that even a 20 minute walk each day can strengthen your heart and improve your mental health!
Top Cardiologist Says — It’s Like Giving Your Body A New “Battery”
We all want more energy. Now, one doctor says he’s found the secret.
According to Dr. Steven Gundry, a husband, father, and world-renowned cardiologist — tiredness and fatigue are an epidemic in America.
Fortunately, this is a problem you can easily solve at home.
Dr. Gundry — who turned 70 this year — says his secret involves a little-known food that’s been scientifically shown to “unlock” your true physical and mental potential.
News of this has caught the attention of the media.
And this “trick” is becoming popular with Americans in their 50s, 60s, and 70s — who are now reporting a pleasant surge of youthful vitality.
Dr. Gundry serves as the personal physician to many A-list celebrities. But you don’t have to be a Hollywood star to take advantage of this secret.
Because now — for the first time ever — Dr. Gundry has created a short video where he explains his method from beginning to end (complete with instructions), so you can try it for yourself at home.
“Life’s too short to feel tired all the time,” he says. “So, if this tip can help folks put the bounce in their step, I’m happy to help! After all, energy is one of the greatest gifts you can have in life.”
The video has since gone viral and received millions of views.
So far, the reviews have been stunning, with thousands of Americans feeling half their age.
One viewer commented: “This is amazing! I’m 63 and have more gusto than I know what to do with. I’ve even started dancing again. This is so easy, it almost feels like cheating.”