"It can be a vicious cycle," says N.A. Mark Estes, MD, director of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Center at Tufts University School of Medicine. " Stress can make heart conditions worse."
"Trying to prevent stress completely doesn't usually work, since life just gets stressful sometimes," says Gordon Tomaselli, MD, chief of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Instead, he suggests finding ways to deal with it when it happens.
Move Your Muscles
How much do you need? Aim for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week of moderately intense activity. Take a brisk walk, swim, bike, or do just about anything that gets your heart going. But since you have a heart condition, check with your doctor before you start a new workout routine.
Try Active Relaxation
Reach Out to Friends and Family
People you love are some of the best stress-busters you have. Give yourself a break. Just have some fun. Share a laugh and good company.
Do Something New
Feeling stressed out and sick can put you in a rut. Push yourself outside the norm to change your outlook.
- Visit a museum or see a local play.
- Go to a restaurant you haven't been to before.
- Listen to a different style of music.
- Spend time outdoors. Read on a park bench.
- Take a foreign language class.