Will Your Divorce Cause You a Heart attack?
I was really surprised to read a report about how heart attacks are linked to divorce. Men and women can respond to divorce differently, but heart health is very similar. Heart attacks linked to divorce? We all know how stressful divorce can be but did you know how bad it is for the health of your heart not only emotionally but also physically. And it is far worse for women than men. Statistics show that if a woman is divorced 2 or more times, her risk of heart attack escalates 77%. According to the Mayo Clinic “People with broken heart syndrome may have sudden chest pain or think they’re having a heart attack. There’s a temporary disruption of your heart’s normal pumping function, while the remainder of the heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions. Broken heart syndrome may be caused by the heart’s reaction to a surge of stress hormones. The condition may also be called takotsubo cardiomyopathy, apical ballooning syndrome or stress cardiomyopathy”. All things point to not only avoiding divorce and relationship breakdown for our emotional and now physical health but it really points to the fact that we must learn to choose our partners wiser. The divorce rate is frighteningly high and none of us expect it will occur to our relationship. So many of us fall in love and lust, get engaged before planning our wonderful wedding without giving the marriage that much of a thought. What I suggest is to concentrate on the marriage, discuss the uncomfortable subjects such as in-laws, career, children and parenting, household task division, etc, all the conversations we really need to have to ensure both of you are on the same page. When and only when these conversations are over and you both feel the same and have decided you can in fact live forever with the person you have fallen for, then should you commence planning the amazing wedding day. If you have a relationship that is failing or has failed, given this information, the best way to prevent yourself from becoming another statistic is to effectively deal with your divorce stress. Here are my top 5 tips for de-stressing from divorce or relationship breakdown:
1. Start some new activities
Your life changes when you get divorced. Develop or start some new fun activities. Research shows that physical activity releases dopamine and serotonin into our brain, these are our feel good hormones and can assist us to feel stronger and happier. You can actively walk, jog, dance, skip with a rope or go to gym classes. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you enjoy it and get some physical effort going to release those wonderful feel good hormones.
2. Take Care of Yourself
Often when in a relationship we care for everyone else and forget about ourselves. Take care of yourself now. Make sure you’re eating well, staying hydrated with water, getting enough rest and sleep and afford yourself time to stop and relax. You should be treating yourself as the amazing person you are.
3. Build Your Support System
No one should go through a divorce alone. Find the people who can positively support you through the stressful transitions that accompany divorce. Limit your contact with the people (like your ex) who bring you down or are negative. You need positive people and not the ones that always want to discuss your situation, those who look forward and can help you transition.
4. Ensure You Allow Yourself to Work Through the Grief
We all tend to want to avoid pain, but in this case you need to carefully push through the painful emotions of divorce so you can heal. A divorce is a loss of a relationship, or your family unit. Avoiding this work will only prolong your stress. There are stages of grief – disbelief, shock, anger, negotiation and acceptance and we need to travel through each one to come out the other side stronger and more focused on our future. It will be hard for a time, this is expected. Work with a Counsellor in these stages to get through them supported and faster.
5. Ask for Help
Asking for help and support can be so intimidating, after all, you are so string and resilient, you have kept the family together and worked so hard. For most people it can be a struggle asking for help, it makes us feel vulnerable and sometimes inept as we now have to reach out for help. This is simply the smart move. It does not mean you are weak in fact quite the opposite, it means you are strong and smart to know and ask for what you need to enable you to travel this journey faster to make things easier for you. Divorce is super hard on everyone and what most of us women do is support those who are also suffering like the children and extended family members, we often place ourselves last. Not this time, divorce is the one time you need those around you to support and help.You decrease your risk for both heart attack and broken heart syndrome and you increase your risk of having a happy and healthy life after your divorce and that’s just as important.