Anxiety and Cardiac Health

Recover Your Health and Your Mind

  • That is a near-death experience.
  • The cardiac patients just go through a life-threatening event.
  • Cardiac patients need to avoid the activity or place associated with the heart attack.
  • Recurring anxious thoughts may influence having good quality sleep.
  • Negative thoughts about an uncertain future may cause a drastically foreshortened outlook of the future.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety

Cognitive symptoms: such as worry, especially worry that is difficult to stop or control, feeling unable to cope, and feeling that things are not real.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are types of anxiety disorders. Dr. McCann stated a few of them that relate more to cardiac recovery:

Anxiety and Cardiac Recovery

Individuals with anxiety disorders have a high degree of fear and uncertainty. It can have a significant impact on cardiac patients who are going through recovery. According to Dr. McCann, anxiety can interfere with:

  • Appropriate heart rate
  • Sticking to prescribed exercise regimens
  • Taking prescribed medications
  • Following through with a healthy diet
  • Getting a proper amount of quality sleep
  • Reconnecting with friends and family
  • Confidently resume job career and family responsibilities.

Monkey Mind-Restless Mind

We heard people talk about the “monkey mind” and how they want to calm it down. What is Monkey Mind? According to Buddhist principles, the “monkey mind” is a term that refers to being unsettled, restless, or confused. Cardiac patients may have an unstill mind that is chattering with all their uncertainties and worries. An anxious mind doesn’t help with cardiac recovery.

How to Manage an Anxious Mind?

Cardiac recovery needs teamwork- a group of professionals working together to help cardiac patients recover. Going to see a cardiac doctor is like going to see a dentist for treatment. But when we come home, we still need to brush and floss our teeth regularly to keep up with oral health. Taking care of “monkey mind” is just like that! Therefore, in addition to talking to a cardiac doctor about concerns and seeking psychological help, here are some tips for cardiac patients to take control of the situation and maintain the benefits of their professional treatment:

  • Breathing: There are various breathing techniques to calm down the mind, such as Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Purifying Breath-inhale from left nostril first), Ujjayi breath (oceanside sounding victory breath), Bee Breath (Brahmari)
  • Exercise: Get the anxious energy out and/or try some calming exercises (e.g., Tai-chi, Chi-gong) to settle down
  • Expressive Arts Therapy (e.g., art therapy, music therapy, sound healing, sand tray, drama therapy)
  • Gentle yoga or stretching
  • Journaling
  • Meditation/Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) or iRest (The modern adaptation of yoga Nidra which was founded by Dr. Richard Miller)
  • Nature: Go outdoor and embrace nature!
  • Practice gratitude (e.g., write down what you’re grateful for in a journal, write gratitude notes to others, take pictures of things you’re grateful for)
  • Eat healthily

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