Heart Month at Arnot Health: Stress Relief and Support

Throughout the month of February, we’ve been sharing important heart health tips from the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute, an advanced support team that provides high-quality, compassionate care in state-of-the-art facilities. This final week, we’re talking about the negative effects of stress and how to find relief.

Dealing with stress is part of growing older; it’s a side effect of life that many of us find unavoidable. However, life itself does not have to be all about dealing with stress. We may not be able to get rid of it altogether, but we can learn strategies on how to deal with it in a positive way.

According to Maureen Tuite, Clinical Director and Nurse Practitioner at the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute, stress becomes dangerous when we search for unhealthy coping mechanisms. “Some people choose alcohol, cigarettes, or over-eating as ways to distract themselves from life’s troubles,” she said, “but these distractions only cause more health problems.” Maureen says weight gain and rising blood pressure can result in increased risks of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. She also said that sleeplessness is one of the most common signs of stress on our bodies.

One positive way to cope with hardships is by being physically active. Some people prefer the solitude of walking or running while others choose to engage in healthy competition by joining area sports leagues. Swimming, golfing, skiing, bowling, and tennis are all ways to engage friends and deal with stress positively. Prayer and meditation are also common activities for rest and relaxation after a long day.

The Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute recently launched two support groups for patients dealing with heart disease, which can help ease the mental anguish that commonly accompanies – and even enhances – the effects of the disease.

“Heart to Heart” is an open forum that provides a safe, peer-to-peer support environment. Members listen, share their experiences and discuss lifestyle changes, recovery and treatment. The group meets every six weeks through December 14 in the Heart & Vascular Institute Conference Room.

“Mended Hearts” is a program that assists patients and caregivers from diagnosis through the journey of recovery with social, emotional and practical support. Meetings include special guest speakers on a variety of topics. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month in the Heart & Vascular Institute Conference Room.

As Heart Month comes to a close, the Heart and Vascular Institute is always available for educational programs, free screenings, counseling, and cardiac rehab. Follow Arnot Health on Facebook for updates on these programs and more, or call the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department at (607) 737-4442 for more information.

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