Stress and your Heart

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain resulting from a negative situation or demanding circumstances.  It can have a major influence upon mood, our sense of well-being, behaviour, and health.

It’s important to note that the long-term effects of stress can damage your health and is also a risk factor for heart disease.

Factors that are commonly regarded as components of ‘stress’ include:

  • depression, anxiety, panic disorder
  • social isolation and lack of quality social support
  • life events such as bereavement, diagnosis of chronic illness, or severe life changes
  • work-related ‘stressors’
  • anger and hostility.
Managing stress

Stress is a key risk factor for heart disease.  Knowing when to adjust your lifestyle and situation is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle.

Understanding stress, stress management and relaxation are vital in ensuring good mental health, and in adjusting to the pressures and strains of everyday life.

Heart disease is stressful

It’s important to remember that heart disease is stressful.  Going to hospital, facing surgery and dealing with the changes in your daily life and family routine – can be traumatic. For some people, the diagnosis of a heart condition or living with ongoing health problems may be a continual strain. Managing stress and knowing when to pull back or ask for help is an important element in coping with heart disease.  If you are struggling emotionally with your diagnosis or change in life situation talk to your GP, specialist or follow the links below for Lifeline.

Positive stress

A certain amount of stress can be a good thing. It can help you focus and achieve what you want to do. It brings anticipation and excitement into your life – with a holiday or family celebration. It helps you to grow and change, to avoid danger, and to strive for a goal.

Negative stress

Stress can also be negative and can make someone feel tense, anxious, fearful, depressed or uncomfortable.

Some situations that many of us find difficult or upsetting can include:

  • conflict with others
  • meeting deadlines
  • writing exams
  • caring for dependants
  • moving house
  • relationship problems
  • health problems.
Want to manage your stress?
  • Identify what CAUSES stress and how you cope
  • TALK to a trusted friend or family member
  • Take CARE of yourself
  • Access SUPPORT and make a PLAN

It’s important to note that just because something isn’t stressful for someone else doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be stressful for you. It is ALWAYS OK to ask for help and if something isn’t feeling right get in touch with your GP or click here to find a Psychologist near you. 

If this has brought up anything for you, you have questions or need someone to talk to please contact lifeline or call 13 11 14.  They also have a 24hr help line.  Help is always available and no one ever needs to face their problems alone. Below are some additional phone numbers for available help if needed.

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
Emergency: 000
Confidential Helpline: 1800 737 732
Mensline: 1300 78 99 78
Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277