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Something that amazes me is the threshold some people have for suffering. I’m not talking so much about physical pain, but rather mental and emotional pain. When it comes to physical pain – even the hardest head will eventually go to the doctor or dentist.
But with mental and emotional pain, the vast majority of people suffer in silence – or within earshot of their closest family members.
People often minimalize the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and/or depression. They’ll shrug it off and say, “I just feel down today…” or, “I’m not quite myself today…” And sometimes they’re right – sometimes it can be chalked up to a bad day – or even a bad week. BUT when the todays turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months, they’re further down than they realize. To make matters worse, stress, anxiety, and depression often come together with a 1-2-3 knock out punch that makes it hard for the victim to find their own legs.
Researchers are finding amazing links between the mind and the heart. We’ve all used the terms “Heartbroken,” “Heartsick,” “Heavy-hearted,” etc. We may not have realized it at the time, but our emotions are, literally, tied to our heart. With that being said, how important must it be, then, to keep our emotions and psychological state as healthy as possible. Problems such as stress, anger, and anxiety can increase the risk for coronary artery disease and the risk of dying after a heart attack.
From the Harvard Health Publications Special Health Report, The Healthy Heart: Preventing, Detecting, and Treating Coronary Artery Disease:
Psychological stress can raise blood pressure, reduce blood flow to the heart, decrease the heart’s pumping ability, trigger abnormal pumping rhythms, and activate the blood’s clotting system. Some evidence suggests that stress and constant anger may increase LDL and triglyceride levels. It appears that long-term psychological stress may also activate molecules that fuel the inflammation that is at the heart of coronary artery disease.
Something I found interesting….and surprising…is the fact that the daily stresses (such as being in an unhappy marriage, having unruly kids, job stress…) actually do more harm to our hearts than the huge traumas of life (such as losing a loved one, suffering an accident, etc.) I guess we find a way to cope with the larger issues but simply don’t know what to make of the smaller ones.
If you, or someone you care about, is suffering from depression, stress, or anxiety – start looking for solutions and keep looking until you find what works. If you have to see a doctor, make an appointment and go. If you don’t, you’ll be seeing a doctor soon enough…..for something much more serious.
Make each moment count double,