The Effects Of Sadness And Stress On The Heart

by Kahlia Meeuwsen, Health Columnist

Published in Health and Lifestyle on 9th January, 2019

Negative emotions like depression, stress, loneliness and anxiety are already tough to deal with. That said, many aren't aware that they can also have effects on the body that can make things even worse, including things like increasing the chances of a heart attack.

Here, we're going to take a closer look into these emotions and how you can learn to handle them. As a result, you can feel better mentally and emotionally, and also reduce the effects they can have on your heart. Take a look and learn about what you can do to keep your mind and body as healthy as possible!

effects of sadness

What Emotions Can Effect The Heart?

There are a variety of emotions that can not only effect our minds, but also have a negative effect in our bodies. While in balanced amounts they typically don't become problematic, larger amounts can cause some serious issues in the body that may sometimes be irreversible. Consequently, it's important to have a clear understanding of them!

Depression and Sadness

Depression is a serious issue that brings down millions of people. It often leaves individuals feeling a deep sadness that won't seem to lift, as well as hopelessness and in more extreme cases, suicidal. Symptoms of this illness can really range from person to person, and express themselves in different ways.

For some, it can mean spending a lot of time in bed, while for others it can result in self harm, substance abuse and binge eating. Even the symptoms that can seem more mild can have negative effects on the body, resulting in effects to heart health as well.


Loneliness can also be an emotion that comes with negative impacts on the body. Humans are innately social creatures, though the need for socialization can exist on a spectrum. When we don't have access to enough meaningful socialization, it can start to wear on us emotionally.

In addition to this, we can sometimes begin to isolate ourselves even more when we feel lonely, though it is the opposite of what we need. This may be due to other factors like depression, shame, anxiety or stress. The combination of these emotions can start to make things very difficult.


Stress is something that is common to most people out there. Some are lucky enough to only experience it on occasion, but others may feel like they can't seem to escape it on a daily basis. Over time, it can start to really cause problems in the body as well as the mind.

effects of sadness and stress

When we're too stressed, we become worn down and exhausted, we may seek out comfort through food or simply not feel that we have enough time to eat healthy things. In addition, it can leave us feeling irritable much more often than we might under normal circumstances.


Those who have anxiety can often feel how it immediately effects the body. Causing tension in certain areas, raising your blood pressure, upsetting your stomach and more. The physical symptoms can be different depending on where a person "carries" their anxiety.

On top of that, having anxiety on a frequent and regular basis can start to wear on the body. In normal situations, the kind of "fight or flight" feelings and reactions that come with anxiety are used in very short term emergency situations. Staying in that state for longer can really wear down the body and mind.

How Is The Heart Effected?

Many of these emotions can come with symptoms that greatly effect your health. Things like binge eating, lacking exercise, avoiding the hygiene you need and more, can really snowball into problematic situations. Alongside the emotions themselves, they can make things like heart attacks and heart disease more likely.

It can also be said that those who are frequently depressed or lonely have a higher likelihood of experiencing heart problems than those who aren't. While it might seem like just an emotional issue, these things really can cause problems for your heart and body as well if they aren't addressed.

Protecting Your Heart And Balancing Emotions

The good news is that these negative emotions can be handled more efficiently and sometimes cured. It's not an easy process, and can require some big changes in your life in some cases, but it's absolutely worthwhile.

Even if you as an individual aren't at risk of heart problems, it's always worth it to help yourself feel better and live a happier life. To assist you in that, we've compiled a list of activities and tips you can make use of to handle negative emotions in a more efficient way.

Relieving Stress

Giving yourself an opportunity to relieve the stress that builds up on a day-to-day basis is very important for maintaining health. There are also many ways you can do this, which is great because different methods can provide greater benefit to different people.

For some, getting out and blowing off steam is useful. Meanwhile, others prefer to go home to a hot bath or a book. You can also make use of meditation or guided imagery, exercise or just about any other activity that helps you to relax or relieve the pressure from your mind in a positive way.

Getting Exercise

When it comes to taking care of your heart as well as the rest of your body, exercise is absolutely key. Getting regular cardio at least can be very beneficial in keeping your heart healthy, and it can help to life your mood as well, making it a great help all around!

effects of sadness and stress exercise

You don't have to become a pro athlete in order to avoid the heart issues that can be more likely to result when things like loneliness, depression, anxiety and other negative emotions are present more frequently in your life. Just half an hour a day can really help to turn things around!

Seeking Help

Doctors and therapists are there to help keep you in the best possible shape. While it can be anxiety-inducing sometimes, making sure to get regular checkups and discuss concerns with these professionals can be immensely helpful. They can not only help with taking care of your body, but your mind as well.

A professional therapist can help you to cope with negative emotions in better ways, so that they don't become regular fixtures in your life. Whether it's medication, talk-therapy or other helpful activities, there are many ways to keep yourself healthy and happy. It's worth it!

Using Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation is a great way to improve focus, relax yourself and learn how to take a look at your emotions in an objective way. All it takes are a few seconds, though you can put more time into it if you decide to. It's a simple, free activity that can be greatly beneficial.

In addition, mindfulness is a practice that can allow you to step back and see the world as it is. Often, when we're stressed or anxious, our minds are moving very quickly and reacting very emotionally. Learning to slow down and keep things in perspective can help with keeping negative emotions from overwhelming you.

Healthy Habits

In addition the more specific healthy habits in this article, there are a few more that are worth remembering. Simple things like eating balanced meals in healthy portions, engaging in regular hygienic activities, and getting plenty of sleep all help you to feel better.

Furthermore, remember to be gentle with yourself in any goals you set. Cruel, demanding mindsets are more likely to become a punishment than a help, and will leave you feeling badly. Instead, appreciate your body and mind for all they do and take care of them with loving intentions.


Even though things may not always be going well, it helps to remember what is. Be thankful for the good things you have in your life, like family, friends, or even pets that make you feel loved. Looking for these things can be so difficult when you're not feeling well, but it's very helpful.

effects of sadness and stress be greatfull

The good things in your life won't render the hard times meaningless. They still exist, and it's perfectly valid to feel sad, anxious, angry or stressed. However, remembering them can keep things in perspective. It helps to remember that the hard times will pass, and gratitude can help those times to pass more easily.

Something To Remember

Depression is serious, and it can have extremely serious consequences. If you're feeling overwhelmed, helpless, unwanted or just that you need some support, there are resources out there for you.

Those at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline want to talk to you and help you to avoid making a permanent decision when things can get better. You can contact them anytime at 1-800-273-8255, or chat with them online at

There are also options available for those who need special consideration for hearing disabilities as well as those who prefer to speak Spanish. Don't hesitate to contact them for help if you need to.

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