When we are in a stressful situation, our body prepares us for “fight or flight” – attack or run. It is a wonderful coping mechanism for short term in making the heart beat faster and constricting blood vessels to get more blood to the core of the body instead of the extremities. As a response to this, the heart rate and blood pressure both go up temporarily until the “danger” is gone and our systems then normalize.
With our modern world, we often have stressful situations in both our work and personal lives that can provoke the stress response for many days. We know that with this, adrenaline and cortisol are released in the blood stream and can cause an increase in blood sugar and blood pressure. We just don't have enough research at this point that tells us the long-term affects of stress related to heart disease.
We do know that stress does play a role in our general wellness so in the meantime, what can we do?
Live healthy - This include eating a healthy diet, exercising ideally for 30 minutes, five times a week, and getting eight hours of sleep a night.
Change your expectations - Try not to pack too much into every moment of your day either at work or in your personal life. Learn to say “no” – don't promise too much.
Identify your stressors and how you deal with them - Think about how you react to stressful situations and if there is room for improvement.
Take time for yourself - Make time for your family/friends and to fulfill your spiritual needs. Treat yourself to something that makes you happy such as making time for a hobby or just relaxing.