If you’re the type of woman who smiles when you would rather scream, you may be at increased risk for a heart attack. According to several studies, your heart attack risk may be more closely connected to how you handle stress rather than dietary and other lifestyle choices.
Territorial Loss Conflict Linked to Increased Heart Attack Risk
You always hear so much about how saturated fat can clog your arteries with cholesterol and cause you to drop dead of a heart attack. What you don’t hear is what causes this to happen. Your body needs cholesterol for proper brain function, would healing, and digestion.
It’s something called a “territorial loss conflict”, which causes this cholesterol to kill you. When you experience an emotional upheaval that revolves around your immediate territory; for example, you lose your job, your house goes into foreclosure, or you lose a loved one, your body goes into a fight-or-flight state, preparing you for an emotional or physical battle.
During this phase, your coronary arteries expand to get your blood flowing. Once the conflict is resolved, your arteries shrink back down to their normal size. Any damage done to them is restored as cholesterol (a powerful healing agent) rushes to heal your arteries.
Within weeks, your arteries are back to normal…and you kick over of a heart attack.
If an autopsy is performed, the attending physician will see that your arteries are clogged with cholesterol. This means you could be fit, trim, and eat the healthiest diet but still have a massive coronary due to this sudden excess of cholesterol. It’s because the cholesterol was doing its job; trying to heal you.
Smiling and pretending everything is okay all the time can really shorten your life span! This is why it’s so important to deal with your grief and anger in a healthy, constructive way before it puts you at risk.
Type A Personalities are Also at Risk for a Heart Attack
If you’re a Type A personality, you get everything done and then some. You’re always on the go and the thought of losing a moment of productivity to standing in line or dealing with a slow driver in front of you is almost more than you can bear.
If you’re a type A personality, you likely make more money and are more successful in business, but your body is in a constant state of fight or flight. Your adrenal glands are continually pumping out stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. You’re also more likely to imbibe heavily in alcohol, over-eat, and chain-smoke; all activities which have been linked to the development of heart disease.
Relieve Your Stress Naturally to Avoid Coronary Artery Disease
If you’re an intense person, the age-old advice of beating stress by taking up meditation or yoga just might not work for you. Even a long, hot bath might take up too much of your time to feel relaxing.
So here are some alternative tips I found that might work for you:
- Find a Healthy Outlet for Stress
If you’ve recently gone through a territorial loss conflict, take time to process your emotions. Talk with a trusted friend, write about it in a journal, air your feelings in a self-help forum, or consult with a therapist. Finding a healthy outlet for your stress can help head off serious health problems at the pass.
- Get Plenty of Exercise
Naturally-anxious people have a lot of nervous energy to expend. If you’re the fidgety type, ease your feelings of stress by getting plenty of exercise. Even if you don’t have a lot of time to work out, go for a power walk at lunch or invest in a rebounder and bounce that stress away 10-15 minutes a day.
- Listen to Soothing Music
If you’re the type to feel road rage on a long commute, change up your music. Instead of listening to talk radio or top 40 music, invest in a few calming new age, classical or spiritual CDs to help soothe your nerves and put you in a calmer frame of mind.
Note: If you feel sleepy while listening to this type of music, avoid using the CDs in your car and instead, unwind with them at home while preparing dinner, cleaning, etc.
- Schedule a Hobby
You know yourself pretty well. You may read the advice to “get a hobby” but you know you’ll never actually do it unless you see it penciled in on your calendar. Sign up for a new leisure class you have to pay for. You’ll be much more likely to attend that painting, modeling or crafts class if you plunk down some hard-earned cash.
Eating a healthy diet, avoiding smoking and excessive drinking, and working on your fitness is only half the battle. Remember, stress kills. You don’t have to smile and pretend to be happy all the time. You have a right to have emotions and release stress in a healthy, constructive way. It just might save your life!