The cumulative stress caused by stressful news increases cortisol production, which helps maintain a high heart rate and blood pressure. Chronic stress could lead to serious health problems.
The news in 2020 was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic and all the bad news that followed. News that contributed to increased stress. “As a practicing preventive cardiologist, one of the most common risk factors for heart disease that I see is stress,” says Sadiya Khan, MD, assistant professor of cardiology and epidemiology at Northwestern University. I know we can all agree that this year has been extremely stressful for all of us in all aspects of our lives, including the stress of the pandemic and related health, financial and political events.
Stress keeps the heart rate up
For Northwestern University researchers, it’s better not to associate with anxiety-provoking news, which raises stress levels. “It’s possible and easy to get updates every minute of the day, which just exposes you to repeated layers of stress throughout the day,” says Dr. Aderonke Pederson, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Many of us in our field recommend that people take in the news in doses. I now watch the news only once or twice a day and use only reliable sources. This will help you manage your mental input because our brains can’t process that much. We often take it in without knowing it, like the tension in our muscles.”
Stress increases the production of cortisol, which helps maintain a high heart rate and blood pressure. “This accumulated stress can lead to an increased risk of heart problems, diabetes, and more,” says Aderonke Pederson. In addition, stress leads to episodes of depression and anxiety, which increase the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. “So there’s a feedback loop of mental and physical health problems,” says the psychiatry professor.
Reduce your daily stress
For the Northwestern researchers, reducing stress levels is an essential part of your health care. “To reduce the effects of stress, try focusing on heart-healthy behaviors that can reduce risk, such as exercising, eating healthy, and finding ways to keep a positive attitude,” says Sadiya Khan. As for current news and events, they advise getting them in small doses. “Find ways to eliminate those layers of stressful input by turning off the news and work emails. Calm your mind for a few hours before you go to bed by reading a light book, playing games, or taking a hot bath,” Pederson concludes.
Finally, the researchers recommend that It is important for us to accept what we cannot control and to maintain hope. Despair is a major symptom of depression. While there is much chaos, there are also positive things, such as the vaccine that will soon be available to many people.