Psychological Stress and Heart Health

A recent New York Times article, “Stress May Be Your Heart’s Worst Enemy” outlines the results of a study published in November 2021 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), as well as other studies showing a link between psychological stress and increased risk for heart attack. 

This article caught my eye for a few reasons.

First, I thought we already knew that psychological stress has health-related ramifications. I was surprised to read that many doctors don’t connect the dots between psychological stress as a risk factor for heart health. It was interesting to read about the research being done in this area.

Second, I was happy the article included a section on “defusing stress and its effects.” I can’t imagine anyone these days who isn’t impacted by stress, me included!

One of the greatest benefits reported by my Healing Touch and shamanic healing clients is a decrease in their experience of stress:

“I feel more calm. My mind isn’t racing.”

“I can breathe more deeply.”

“I feel lighter.”

These are just a few of the comments I hear regularly at the end of a session. Many clients are also eager to learn and implement self-care practices for stress management.

As a Healing Touch and shamanic healing practitioner, I frequently remind myself that I need to “walk the talk.” 

Several months ago, I had a thought that came from a place of inner knowing: “This stress can’t be good for me.” That thought was confirmed a week later at my annual physical showing slightly elevated blood pressure. 

Since then, I’ve been more vigilant about using my tried and true stress-busting methods…

-a brisk walk

-some nice stretching, yoga, or qigong

-a visit to my backyard medicine wheel to offer prayers and blessings and set intentions for moving forward

It never fails…I always feel better.

I’ve also incorporated Thai massage and acupuncture appointments into my monthly healthcare regimen, hoping that this approach will help me lower my blood pressure and avoid taking medication. Note: I’m not anti-medicine. I know many medical doctors whom I hold in high esteem and I know medicine saves lives. But I do prefer to use other stress management methods first.

What is YOUR favorite method for reducing stress? I’d love to connect with you and design a wellness approach that addresses your unique preferences and health challenges. Together we can create a plan that works best for you!