When you’ve been through narcissistic abuse, you’ve been through hell. And one of the worst parts of it is that it can literally damage every area of your life – even your physical health. But did you know that you may have the ability to make some positive changes there? It’s true.
In fact, one study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine has indicated that once anxiety and depression sets in, you’ve unleashed the possibility that you’ll develop heart disease in the future – and we all know that anxiety and depression are standard issues for those of us who have experienced these toxic relationships.
We all know some of the factors that contribute to heart disease – primarily genetics and our poor food consumption (or lack of healthy foods in our diets). But most people never consider sheer stress and anxiety as a source of actual damage to their body’s heart.
The Connection Between Disease and Depression
The study – carried out at the School of Population Health of the University of Queensland in Australia, was focused on women over 40 who had experienced stress but who had no sign of heart disease. Over time, their depression and anxiety seem to be a factor in the development of heart disease.
It was a 15-year look at how heart disease developed in these women. Researchers were looking for both depression and anxiety combined as a contributing factor.
What they found was that in the women who were newly diagnosed with heart disease during the study, they were more likely to have both depression and anxiety.
What scientists concluded is that when you have these types of mental health issues to fight in your life, your nervous system can’t perform accurately. And when you’re depressed, you tend to lack physical activity, engage in unhealthy food, cigarette and alcohol addictions, and neglect your overall well being.
Another 10-year study by the Heart Foundation found that heart attacks can occur from major life traumas, such as the death of someone you love, disasters of nature like hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., and domestic terror attacks.
The study also found that chronic stress – especially in women over the age of 45 – contributed to more heart problems as well. But that doesn’t let men off the hook, though.
No study to date has singled out stress as the sole determining factor for having heart disease, but there’s no mistaking the fact that it can contribute to it. It could be because depression and anxiety cause poor self-care behaviors.
One thing doctors know is that a large number of patients’ visits to the doctor are due to chronic stress. It can take a toll on your body, causing fatigue, panic attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more.
What happens when you get stressed is that your body experiences a fight or flight reaction. Your adrenaline gets pumping and you tense up. Your heart rate soars. Fat gets released into your blood because it’s used to give you a jolt of energy. Even your blood clots easier.
This wouldn’t be a problem for your heart if it happened once in a while, but for many individuals, depression and anxiety is a never-ending problem. Your heart needs rest and relaxation.
It shouldn’t always be battling increased blood pressure, a barrage of cholesterol, and rapid heartbeat. What will happen is that your heart might start beating abnormally more often than not. Your arteries can thicken, too – setting you up for a heart attack or stroke.
Gauging Your Stress Level for Heart Health
You may or may not have an issue where stress – in the form of depression and anxiety – is affecting your heart health. Some people have minor stress while others are mired in it and don’t even realize how bad it’s become.
Ask yourself if you’ve been going through a lot of traumatic, nerve-wracking or frustrating situations in the past year. That might include:
Changing jobs, having stress in an existing one, or having no job
Adding to your family either with birth or marriage
Think about how you’ve physically felt lately. Stress is evident in our minds, but sometimes we overlook the physical effect until it’s too late. If you’re burdened by an unhealthy amount of stress, you might notice a few common stress signs early on.
Your jaw might hurt in the morning. This is a sign you’re clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth at night. You might also suffer from headaches and feel stiff in your neck area.
As stress really takes a toll on your body, symptoms get more serious. You might have dizzy spells, insomnia, feelings of panic attacks where your heart is racing, you’re sweating and you feel nauseous.
Ways to Cope With High or Chronic Stress
If you make a decision that stress might be an issue for you, then you have to see if you’re capable of getting it under control so that your heart is protected and you’re not setting yourself up for a heart attack or stroke.
First, there are some things you don’t want to do when it comes to managing your stress.
Don’t take the route of asking your doctor to let you pop a pill for your stress unless it’s the last option. Pills just mask a problem – they don’t help you learn to cope.
Don’t use food to help you get in a better mood. The comfort food that many people use to self-medicate during stress only causes more problems for your health.
Never turn to cigarettes and alcohol (or drugs) to help ease your anxiety. None of these things assists you in building a healthier heart. They just do more damage to your body.
Exercise by itself helps your heart – but it also releases endorphins, which help your stress levels plummet back to a manageable level. You can get as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day to reap the benefits of exercise.
Practice good time management. Whether you’re rushing around because you’ve overscheduled yourself or you’ve procrastinated to a point where you’re now panicked, a lack of time is one of the top stressors most people list about their lives.
Implement good sleep hygiene. That means you’re protecting your heart by getting plenty of Zs at night. You can’t function properly and handle stress gracefully when you’re running on empty.
Just as not getting plenty of sleep can be a problem, it can also be a problem if you get too much sleep. That’s a sign of depression, so if you can’t get out of bed and face the day, it might be time to call the doctor and set up an appointment for professional help.
Start replacing bad habits with good habits. Things like nutrition may not sound like it affects stress levels (and in turn heart health), but it does. When you feel like your energy is drained because you’ve crashed from a sugar high, and you’re not tired – it makes you unable to handle stress as well.
Learn how to say no to other peoples’ demands. You might have people from your personal life, from your child’s school, from your church, or from work trying to get you to take on more responsibilities. If you need less stress, don’t be afraid to say no.
If anger is your primary reaction, then you need to focus on anger management so that you can control your reactions to the daily stress that you undergo. And let go of any grudges you’ve been holding against other people because it only wears you down physically and emotionally.
Embracing a Positive Mindset
It’s been proven that optimists live longer than pessimists. That’s because those who look at life with a glass-half-empty are often suffering from heart sabotaging issues like depression and anxiety.
But it’s not as easy as flipping a switch and suddenly thinking everything is all rainbows and unicorns. In fact, you’re not supposed to wear rose-colored glasses and be fake about how great life is, either.
What you need to do is work on a mindset where you’re realistic about what life has given you and then tackle it with a positive attitude that you’re capable of working through any issues that arise.
There’s always going to be stress in your life. It’s unavoidable as a whole. But with the right attitude, you can meet situations head to head and handle them with ease.
Every day you need to reiterate to yourself that you’re capable of handling whatever arises. Stay level-headed about what’s going on. Don’t overreact and make a bigger deal out of something than it really is.
Take a deep breath and look at whatever’s happening and think logically about how you can make it better. Don’t let feelings of doom and gloom overrun your thoughts.
Chances are the worst-case scenario will never happen, and even if it did, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll recover from it. How can you get a better mindset that helps vaccinate you against stress and protect your heart?
Practice positive affirmations. This is when you vocally and mentally reaffirm to yourself that things are going to be okay. Some people start their day off this way and end it this way – or call on positive affirmations during times of crisis.
Smile. Research shows that smiling actually improves your stress handling abilities – but not just any smile will do. It needs to be a full smile where your eyes and the muscles around the mouth actually change shape.
Find ways to laugh a lot. Whether it’s through a funny show on TV or a date night out to a live comedy club, laughter can help people physically and emotionally. When you laugh, the lining of your blood vessels dilates and improves blood flow.
Finding ways to manage your stress won’t just ensure that your heart is protected. It’s going to give you a better quality of life, which will improve your relationships, too.
Have you ever wondered how doctors really lose weight? Although not all medical professionals are slim, some seem to have discovered weight loss secrets that could help you.
Doctors often fight their own weight loss battles, so they’ve learned how to keep the pounds off and away. You can learn from their secrets and use them to lose weight too.
Try these effective techniques:
1. Avoid watching the scale. Doctors admit that they don’t pay attention to the bathroom scale. Instead of watching every pound they gain or lose, they share that they focus on how they feel, and how their clothes fit.
* It’s more pleasing to watch your jeans or pants fit you better than to obsess about the numbers on the scale. Your weight will naturally fluctuate on a daily basis. This is mostly due to water retention, so it’s important to focus more on the big picture.
2. They count calories where it matters. Instead of calculating the calories in each piece of lettuce, most doctors pay attention to calories where they matter.
* For example, they don’t worry about calories in fruits and vegetables because these foods have fiber and other nutrients that strengthen your health.
* However, they pay close attention to the calories in snacks such as granola or trail mix. You may be surprised to learn how many empty calories are in some of your favorite snack foods. They may look healthy, but in reality, they pack in the calories.
3. They pay attention to diet supplements. Sometimes, even doctors consider magic pills like diet supplements.
* What separates doctors from most consumers is that they carefully study the ingredients before they take any supplement. They understand that some of the ingredients can have serious side effects in addition to weight loss.
* They also check with other professionals if they need more information.
4. They avoid letting diet failures stop them. Doctors sometimes cheat and fail at their diets. After all, they are human. Failures will happen, but the way you respond to them matters. Doctors understand that they can start a diet again without issues.
* Many doctors admit that some of their diets haven’t worked in the past. Nevertheless, they’re always ready to start again and keep going to reach their weight loss goals.
5. They understand stress eating. Their jobs are filled with stress, so they know that stress eating is a reality. However, they also know that when you eat because of stress, you can seriously damage your weight loss efforts.
* Doctors have stressful jobs that often involve overtime and worrying about their patients. They also have to deal with late payments from patients, insurance companies, pharmaceutical reps, difficult staff members, and huge medical school loans.
* They’ve figured out other coping mechanisms to deal with the worry and anxiety that don’t involve food. One of the best ways to stop stress eating is to exercise or get active. Dancing, running, walking, or hiking can help you fight stress without adding extra calories to your day or night.
Doctors know that weight loss is a long-term goal and not a short-term fight. You don’t have to invest in complicated programs to achieve long-term results. You can use slimming secrets from doctors to keep the pounds away and stay lean.
If you’re anything like me, you like to do things at the last minute – and if you’re buying a gift for your mom this year, this may be one of those things you sorta…waited to do. That’s why I figured I’d throw together this quick list of last-minute gift ideas for Mother’s day – these are gifts you can order from home and receive in time for Sunday’s Mother’s day celebrations! Or, have them shipped if you can’t or won’t see your mother.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorites!
For the Mom Who Has Everything: Help Around the House–You’ve been hearing about how “Alexa” can help around the house – and maybe you’ve already been using an Amazon Echo. Mom could use one too – even if she’s not tech savvy, a few minutes of instruction will give her a whole new world she can tap into with just her voice! Give her the Amazon Echo – Black (or Amazon Echo – White )! For a less expensive option, try Amazon Echo – White.
Stress Relief! FabQuality Cube 12 Sides Anxiety Attention Toy With Minion Key Chain Gift + eBook Included – Relieves Stress And Anxiety And Relax for Children and Adults BONUS EBOOK is sent by email
If she isn’t sure what to get with her gift card, maybe she wants to try some of these before she buys. So remind her she can also:
Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial – Music is excellent for changing your vibes when you’re feeling down and need a quick pick-me-up – or when you’re dealing with social anxiety that makes you feel crippled. Music has also been proven to be effective in assisting us with depression and anxiety.
How do you feel about your doctor? If you’ve ever felt uneasy or like you don’t matter to your physician, you know that sometimes it’s just not a good fit.
But your health is literally the most important commodity you have. If you expect to get proper medical care and learn how to follow through on your doctor’s recommendations, you’ve got to have open lines of communication, and you need to find a doc who has the kind of “bedside manner” that works best for you.
Of course, that’s not always as easy as it sounds.
What’s New in Primary Care Visits?
Across the board, cuts are routinely made in order to service more patients with less resources. These days, your time with your doc is precious – she’ll probably see you for 15 minutes or less, and electronic records are replacing some of the discussion that used to occur face to face.
On top of that, there may be strong emotions and embarrassment that go along with any disturbing symptoms, especially if you’re not really comfortable saying what you need to say to this person.
As a patient, you can and should learn to talk with your doctor more effectively – especially if you want to take the best possible care of yourself (and you DO, trust me!).
With that in mind, try these suggestions for choosing a physician you’ll feel comfortable with, and with whom you can easily communicate.
How to Choose the Best Doctor for You – 4 Essential Tips
1. Check social media. Take a look at your doctor’s Twitter feed or Facebook page for a preview that may suggest their personality and approach. Many health professionals use social media to educate their patients and answer common questions.
2. Evaluate online ratings. Internet services are now rating pediatricians as well as restaurants, and the criteria usually includes being friendly and easy to talk with. Just remember that these are opinions rather than facts. You may want to consult additional sources like referrals from friends and other health care providers.
3. Focus on the team. Pay attention to how your doctor interacts with colleagues as well as you. Some studies suggest that up to 80% of serious medical errors are caused by miscommunications between caregivers.
4. Take action. Most of all look for a physician who encourages your engagement. Do they speak with you respectfully and value your input?
9 Necessary Notes on Communicating with Your Doctor
1. Set priorities. Given how short doctor visits are today, ensure you squeeze in the main issues before you leave. Focus on your back pain instead of trying to deal with a whole laundry list of experiences.
2. Volunteer information. Your doctor may be as hesitant as you to bring up sensitive subjects like losing weight or quitting smoking. Share any details that could be relevant to receiving the treatment you need.
3. Ask questions. More than 65% of medical schools now teach communications, but some practitioners still tend to speak in lectures. Asking questions creates a discussion and clarifies your concerns.
4. Sum it up. Restating what your doctor said is an effective way to show whether you really understood each other. Try giving a quick recap before you walk out the door.
5. Start a journal. Keeping a journal can help you to think straight when you’re dealing with complicated medical information and strong emotions. Write down your symptoms and any events you want to talk about.
6. Take notes. Jot down what your doctor tells you. Use a notepad or your phone. Some practitioners may even let you record the sessions.
7. Accept uncertainty. Encourage your doctor to be candid by letting them know that you can handle the truth. You may be able to avoid unnecessary tests and prescriptions that are unlikely to provide clear cut answers or significant relief.
8. Discuss risks. Most procedures have risks as well as benefits. Be polite but firm about needing to hear the full picture.
9. Bring support. If you’re nervous about going to the doctor’s office alone, take along someone you trust like your spouse or a friend. Patient advocates can also facilitate discussions between you and your doctor. Your employer may have an employee assistance program or you can contact groups like the American Cancer Society.
Skillful communications can turn you into an engaged patient who makes sound health decisions for you and your family. When you’re knowledgeable, assertive, and courteous, you help your doctor to provide you with the best quality care possible.