Welcome to Healthy Exchange ...your quarterly electronic newsletter from ResponseWorks, your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Each issue provides information to help you better deal with personal, family or work-related concerns.

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Winter 2020 Edition

Anxious People Have Higher Heart Attack Risk

Mental Health

According to researchers at the University of Southern California, men who scored the highest on tests for anxiety were 30 to 40 percent more likely than the others to have a heart attack. The findings held, said the researchers, even when standard cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, age, cigarette smoking and blood sugar levels were factored in. No matter what risk factors were present, anxious, fearful people have a higher risk.

3 Strategies to Decrease Worry and Anxiety

The good news is that anxiety is very treatable. If you are concerned about the amount of worry and anxiety you may be feeling, below are three strategies to help:

Control your worry. Select a half-hour “worry period” that will take place at the same time and place each day. Observe your worrying throughout your day. When you “catch” a worry beginning, postpone it to your worry period, reminding yourself that you will have time later to worry about it and there is no use upsetting yourself now. When you get to your worry period, spend 30 minutes thinking about your concerns and what you can do about them. Try not to dwell on what “might” happen. Focus more on what’s really happening. Distinguish between worries over which you have little or no control, and worries about problems that you can influence. If you can influence the problem, do some problem-solving and take action. If the worry is largely beyond your control, recognize that little or nothing can be done and that you are only making yourself feel bad by worrying.

What causes you to feel anxious? Try to pinpoint what it is you are feeling anxious about. If you can recognize what’s really bothering you, what can you do to eliminate or minimize the situation in some way so that it isn't so stressful? More important, how can you react differently so you won’t be so affected by this situation?

Exercise and learn relaxation techniques. Not only can exercise and relaxation techniques ease tension and relax the body, they can give you a break from worry. For exercise, focus on aerobic exercise like brisk walking, jogging, swimming or cycling. Relaxation techniques may include muscle relaxation, yoga, biofeedback, meditation or deep breathing. Choose what works best for you.

Do You Know the Signs of an Anxiety Disorder?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting more than 19 million Americans each year. What are the most common anxiety disorders and their related symptoms?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Constant, exaggerated, worrisome thoughts and tension about everyday routine life events. Almost always anticipating the worst even though there is little reason to expect it; accompanied by physical symptoms, such as fatigue, trembling, muscle tension, headache, or nausea.

Panic Disorder – Repeated episodes of intense fear that strike often and without warning. Physical symptoms include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, abdominal distress, feelings of unreality, and fear of dying.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Persistent symptoms that occur after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event such as rape or other criminal assault, war, child abuse, natural or human-caused disaster, or crashes. Nightmares, flashbacks, numbing of emotions, depression, and feeling angry, irritable or distracted and being easily startled are common.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Repeated, intrusive and unwanted thoughts that cause anxiety, often accompanied by ritualized behavior that relieves this anxiety.

Getting Help

According to the NIMH, ninety percent of people with emotional illnesses will improve or recover if they get help.

Your EAP is Here to Help

If your worry or anxiety seems excessive, uncontrollable or is significantly interfering with your daily functioning, contact your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for CONFIDENTIAL counseling, referrals or information. We’re here to help you or your dependent family members with most-any personal, family or work-related concern.


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Disclaimer: This newsletter is not intended to provide medical advice on personal wellness matters. Please consult your physician for medical advice.