Heart Health Tip: Reduce Stress

February is American Heart Month, and this Friday is National Wear Red Day—a movement to spread awareness about heart disease risk in women. Yen Yoga is offering free classes this Friday for anyone who comes into the studio wearing red, and in the meantime, we’re sharing tips on ways to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Reduce stress for heart health.

One way to combat the factors that lead to heart disease is to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Stress releases hormones like adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and elevates your blood pressure, and cortisol, which releases extra sugar into the bloodstream, alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system, and growth processes.

When stressors are continually present, they can disrupt all your body’s regular processes and elevate the particular risks (heightened blood pressure, high blood sugar levels) for heart disease.

For these reasons, it’s important to recognize the stressors in your life, and to find healthy ways to deal with them. Proven stress relievers include meditation and yoga, exercise, journaling, even laughing. Scheduling “unplugged time” away from distractions like your computer or cell phone can also be beneficial.

Take action today by setting aside 10 minutes to do something that feels good and will take your mind away from your stressors. Don’t have 10 minutes? Then take two minutes to sit and be still at your desk, right now.