How you react to stress decides your overall health, especially your heart

While depression and major stressful events are known to be harmful for health, health consequences of frustrations and hassles in everyday life are far reaching too.

By: IANS | New York | Published: February 28, 2016 12:15 pm
Stress, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, stress reaction, heart health, harmful effects of stress, depression, impact of stress on health, health, dealing with stress, electro-cardiogram, ECG, How you deal with your daily stresses and frustration has a greater impact on your overall health than the nature and frequency of the stresses and frustrations themselves. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

How you perceive and react to stressful events in life is more important to your health than how frequently you encounter stress, says a study.

According to the researchers, the more negatively an individual reacts to a situation, the more he/she may be at risk of developing heart disease. The team wanted to find out whether daily stress and heart rate variability — a measure of autonomic regulation of the heart — are linked. A potential pathway that links stress to future heart disease is a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) — a case of a person’s normally self-regulated nervous system getting off track.



“Higher heart rate variability is better for health as it reflects the capacity to respond to challenges,” said Nancy L Sin from Pennsylvania State University. “People with lower heart rate variability have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death,” Sin added in the paper published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. Depression and major stressful events are known to be harmful for health, but less attention has been paid to the health consequences of frustrations and hassles in everyday life.

The team analysed the data collected from 909 participants between the aged 35-85 — including daily telephone interviews — over eight consecutive days and the results from an electro-cardiogram (ECG). During daily phone interviews, participants were asked to report the stressful events as well as negative emotions they had experienced that day.

The researchers found that participants who reported a lot of stressful events in their lives were not necessarily those who had lower heart rate variability. No matter how many or how few stressful events a person faces, it was those who perceived the events as more stressful — or who experienced a greater spike in negative emotions — had lower heart rate variability. These people may be at a higher risk for heart disease, the authors noted.

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    1. Brian Magrath
      Feb 28, 2016 at 11:51 pm
      One of the important things to remember about stress is that it is caused by those incoming distresses, [IDs], of life which cannot be avoided - unless a life of a hermit atop some mountain in complete isolation appeals. IDs will become stress unless a surge guard is applied to defend the individual against stress. And stress has been clearly shown to be the root cause of several nasty disorders in humans, including cancer, depression, diabetes and heart conditions. Preventatism is a surge guard, for use whenever those IDs threaten a person's health. It was developed four decades ago, and has proved itself to be worthy and workable, and highly effective for its purpose. Preventatism was developed for use in helping people with those stress-related disorders to recover from them, but has been shown to be significantly effective for healthy people who just want to stay that way and defend themselves effectively from ID. Preventatism is simple and easy to learn, being non-religious, non-spiritual, and non-medical. The philosophy is also, therefore, available to all – wealthy and poor, disadvantaged and privileged, young and not-so-young. Preventatists use the philosophy to remain healthy, and therefore comfortable in life. However, Preventatism has a serious drawback. Used globally it has the potential to wreck the unwellness industry, so we are trying to restrict its use to fewer users in order to maintain a degree of status quo in medicine. Just so that you are aware of the possibilities.