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World Mental Health Day: How does mental wellbeing affect the heart?

10 Oct 2023

Have you ever paused to consider how your emotional state is affecting your heart? Today, on World Mental Health Day, let’s take a moment to explore the profound connection between our psychological wellbeing and our overall physical health, particularly when it comes to the heart. 

Mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, may lead to the onset and adverse progression of cardiovascular conditions. When we navigate through tough times mentally, our hearts bear the burden too. Extended periods of stress or depression can increase our heart rate and blood pressure, trigger inflammation, and push us towards unhealthy behaviours like poor sleep, unhealthy eating, smoking, and lack of exercise. 


On the other hand, experiencing a cardiovascular event, like a heart attack, or receiving a diagnosis of a heart condition can have a profound impact on an individual’s mental health. Consequences can include anxiety, depression, mood swings, chronic stress, PTSD and low self-esteem. This highlights the need to address mental health as an integral component in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease. 

It’s clear that taking care of your mental health is not just essential for your emotional well-being – it’s a vital part of maintaining a healthy heart too! 

So, what can we do to safeguard both our mental and physical health? 

Speak Out: Don’t hesitate to share your feelings and seek support when you need it. 

Pause: Make sure to allocate time for relaxation and mindfulness in your daily life. 

Move: Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining both a healthy mind and heart. 

Nourish: Opt for foods that are good for your heart and can also help to enhance your mood. 

Taking small, manageable steps to improve our mental health will also benefit our cardiovascular system. Whether it’s taking a moment to relax, going for a brisk walk, or choosing a piece of fruit over a sugary snack, these simple actions all contribute to supporting both our brains and our hearts.