Anyone familiar with the basic tenets of cardiac health can tell you that controlling stress is key to maintaining a healthy heart. According to the American Heart Association, high levels of stress have been linked to many factors that could harm your heart - everything from high blood pressure to elevated cholesterol levels. Though we'll never be able to completely eliminate stress in our lives, learning how to minimize it and deal with it properly can help to bolster our overall health and wellbeing. If you're looking for better ways to manage your stress, consider these tips.

Move away from the problem

According to Everyday Health, one of the best things you can do for stress is simply to remove yourself from the situation causing the stress. For example, if you find yourself in a heated argument with a family member, it's often best to just walk away (no matter how badly you want to prove to them that you are right). Of course, this is easier said than done.

One good way to get away from stressful situations is with a distraction or hobby that you can immerse yourself in during periods of high stress. You may want to take up exercise. This way, when something gets you all riled up you can just grab your running shoes and hit the pavement. Not only will you remove yourself from a stressful situation or argument, but you'll also benefit your heart and body by working out.

Manage your lifestyle factors

One of the ugly truths about stress is that it often leads us to engage in behaviors that are detrimental to our health. For example, individuals experiencing great levels of stress will likely be inclined to drink to excess, use tobacco products or binge on junk food, all of which are bad for your health. It’s especially important for individuals with heart conditions to learn to curb the desire to engage in these behaviors during periods of stress. Take a few minutes and clear your mind by focusing on your breathing. You may find that this allows you to begin working through the problem logically, instead of immediately turning to something unhealthy that you’ll probably regret.

Therapy and counseling

Many people are helped by regular therapy or counseling sessions with a professional. Even if you feel that you can handle your stress on your own, talking things over with a psychologist or counselor can help you understand more thoroughly the things that cause you to feel anger and stress. Over time, this may help you to avoid the situations that are causing these problems and also deal with them in a more productive and reasonable manner.

For more on stress and heart disease:

Stress-Relieving Activities for Heart Health
3 Ways to Manage Heart Disease Stress in a Technology-Based World
Chronic Communication at Work: Work Stress, Life Stress and Your Health