Stress affects your heart in numerous ways, and it has been linked to risk factors for heart disease and arrhythmias. It can also increase your likelihood of developing high blood pressure and higher cholesterol levels. Learn how to manage your stress effectively so that it doesn’t put you at greater risk of developing AFib or another heart condition with these easy tips.

Move Around – You don’t have to participate in a triathlon in order to see the benefits of exercise on your mind and body. Even getting up and going for a walk can help lower your stress levels through the release of endorphins.

Listen to Music – Whether it’s soothing strings or an upbeat rock song, listening to music you enjoy can help lower your blood pressure and your heart rate.

Laugh – Ever wonder why people love to watch their favorite comedy film when they’re feeling stressed? It’s because laughing is a great stress relief technique. The very act of laughing is cathartic, and it triggers a release of endorphins in the brain.

Take Deep Breaths – Breathing slowly and deeply will slow down your heart rate and can also aid in lowering blood pressure.

Spend Time in Nature – Spending time outside has numerous heart-healthy benefits, including lowering your cortisol and increasing heart rate variability. Just something as simple as spending a few minutes in a nearby park can help.

Practice a Hobby – Spend some time working on active hobbies you enjoy, such as cooking, gardening, or painting, and it will help you to relax.

Relax Your Muscles – Tense muscles are byproducts of heightened stress levels. That same tension then contributes to more stress. If you feel it building up in your neck, back, or other areas, focus on relaxing those muscles mindfully to stop the cycle.

If you or a loved one are living with a heart rhythm disorder, contact Heart Rhythm Consultants. Dr. Dilip Mathew is board certified in Cardiology & Cardiac Electrophysiology and has been serving patients in Sarasota and surrounding cities including Port Charlotte, Venice, Tampa and Sun City Center for over a decade.