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Brain Activity 'Key in Stress Link to Heart Disease'

The effect of constant stress on a deep-lying region of the brain is linked to an increased risk of having a heart attack, according to a new study in The Lancet and reported by BBC.com. The study showed that stress possibly could be as important a risk factor for heart attacks as smoking and high blood pressure.

The solution, heart experts said, is to learn to manage your stress. I agree. Chronic stress interferes with your immune system, causes epigenetic changes, and triggers systemic inflammation that can cause numerous chronic disease. Besides heart risks, chronic stress can have serious health consequences, including weight gain and the onset of dementia, so learning how to manage stress should be your No. 1 priority.

Clearly, stress is an inescapable part of life — but it's important to understand that it is how you deal with it that will determine whether it will translate into health problems later on. From my point of view, learning to practice meditation is good therapy with many benefits. Mindfulness, in which you bring your attention back to the “now,” is a form of meditation.

Also effective are breathing exercises, which can literally help you “breathe away” stress while restoring the function of your diaphragm, improving your posture and reducing pain — all of which can help reduce stress.

Another effective stress reliever is the Emotional Freedom Technique, a form of psychological acupressure based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture, but without the invasiveness of needles, and which helps correct the biochemical short-circuiting that occurs with chronic anxiety.
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