How Employees Can Reduce Stress for a Healthy Heart


Since February is American Heart Month, it’s a good reminder to educate employees on the link between chronic stress and heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), employees who are under chronic stress tend to make unhealthy lifestyle choices that can lead to high blood pressure, which is taxing on the heart. Here are some  positive actions you can take that can lead to a healthy heart.

Connect with people.  Schedule time with coworkers for lunch, call a spouse or friend when commuting (using a hands-free device) and if you need a professional to talk to in times of stress, be sure to use your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if available.

Engage in daily physical exercise. On your breaks, go for a walk around your building or outside in good weather (and with co-workers is even better). Throw a ball around. Park further away from the entrance and take the stairs.

Have a good laugh. On your breaks and when away from work, try to spend time with people who make you laugh. Other ways include watching funny sitcoms or comedy shows and reading funny things that make you laugh.

Give up bad habits. Too much weight, alcohol or cigarettes can increase blood pressure. Check with your HR Department to find out what wellness resources you have available to help you stop. More and more companies are offering discounts to gyms, weight loss programs and reductions in health care costs through disease management programs.

Slow down. Think pace instead of race. If you plan ahead and allow enough time to do your work at the office, most times you will not need to rush.

Get organized.  Spend a little down time (or make a little down time) to clean your desk area and files. Check out these tips on organizing your cubicle.

Practice giving back. Studies show that people who volunteer their time tend to have higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction, which can help balance out stressful times. See if there are any volunteer opportunities at work or in your community. You can start here at Volunteer Match.

For more tips on how to keep your heart healthy, check out the AHA website.