For Your Heart's Sake, Relax!
Stress can directly and indirectly lead to coronary heart disease. The nervous and endocrine systems work together to regulate physiological processes of the human body. The neuroendocrine system is the mechanism by which the hypothalamus maintains homeostasis, regulating reproduction, metabolism, energy utilisation, blood pressure, etc. When the body is stressed, it's homeostasis is disrupted. Stress hormones are released and we enter what is known as "the flight or fight response." The physiological changes that occur during the flight or fight response, such as increased muscle tension, blood pressure, and heart rate can lead to coronary heart disease over time. Indirectly, people who experience frequent or chronic stress tend to eat worse, sleep less, and be less active than those who do not report experiencing daily stress. When we are stressed, our bodies are not functioning in a healthy way, and we tend to make taking care of ourselves less of a priority. It is important to remember that it is not selfish to make yourself, your health, and your happiness a priority. It is necessary.
Want to know more? This London-based study links the biological and behavioral factors of stress to coronary heart disease.