Relax, Relax, Relax

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Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Stress is a primary cause of cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke. That's why it is so critical that you engage in tension-relieving practices. Some of my favorite include relax relax relaxyoga, prayer, listening to music, massage, and meditation. You may also consider learning T'ai chi or qigong if a convenient class becomes available. And, of course, exercise is always of great benefit in relieving stress. However, if your heart condition is severe, I recommend you take a stress test in your doctor’s office to make sure that exercise is safe.

Another easy stress reliever that anyone can do is deep breathing. Proper deep abdominal breathing is a great stress-buster, and you can practice it the very instant you feel any tension escalating.

Breathing right is especially important if you have arrhythmia because of its impact on heart rate variability—the imperceptible variations in the heart’s beat-to-beat interval that result from the basic breathing process. Increasing your heart rate variability increases your ability to cope with internal and external changes and reduces the likelihood of a sudden cardiac event.

By learning to alter your breathing pattern, you affect your heart rate variability favorably and get a calming effect.

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