Let’s take a few deep breaths.
by Danielle Sinay
With finals, Daylight Savings and the election looming over our heads — it seems like everybody’s struggling with their stress-levels right now. But what if I told you that your stress and anxiety could be making you physically sick, too? Okay, wait, don’t hyperventilate. Let’s talk this out.
According to a recent study published in the BMJ, people who are prone to worrying are also more prone to heart disease. And not just full-blown-panic-attackers, pretty much anyone who even slightly worries.
“We found that even slightly increased levels of health anxiety also increased the risk of ischemic heart disease,” says Iden Berg, M.D., and lead study author. “As psychiatrists, we always tell our patients that it’s not dangerous to be anxious. That might be true today, but it isn’t true over time.”
Stress and anxiety also raise your risk of migraines, cancer growth, weight gain, and depression, among other illnesses.
Nicole Weinberg, M.D. of Providence Saint John’s Health Center, agrees, explaining that there is “a lot of evidence” proving that your mood and emotions affect your physical health.
“It’s like the power of suggestion. For instance, a recent patient of mine had a fatalistic attitude after a recent bypass surgery and so he stopped taking his medications and reverted to alcoholism, essentially making his worst fears about his health come true.”
It’s hard to tell if ones actual stress levels are making them physically sick, or the behavior said stress-levels trigger. Either way, if you’re prone to anxiety and stress, it’s important to work towards emotional relief — both for your mind and your body.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, there are tons of resources readily available to help you cope with your stress – even on your Phone! Check out some of our favorite mental health and therapy apps here, where you can talk to a therapist, learn how to meditate, or work towards getting better sleep.
Another great alternative is practicing yoga (which the “Daily Yoga” app is great for!). Research has shown that yoga can help alleviate stress and anxiety, improve concentration, and center the nervous system, too. Check out more info on yoga here.
Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and thanks to this study, we now know that they’re actually one in the same.
Treat your mind and body with the love and deserve they deserve! NAMASTE!