facebook pixel How Emotions Can Affect Your Heart Health
Site Search
< Blog Home < Healthy Living

How Emotions Can Affect Your Heart Health

It’s not only anger and bitterness that can put an unnecessary load on your heart. Learn how to control the quieter emotions that can be just as toxic for your body.


You might not have thought about the role your emotions can play in the health of your heart, but there’s definitely a connection between our hearts and minds. A 2018 study shows that the health of your heart has a positive effect on your mental health. Having a healthy heart lowers the risk of dementia and cognitive decline, but there’s also a connection when you’re not feeling mentally healthy. How you feel and think—your mental health—also affects the condition of your heart.


For example, patients who get depressed after being diagnosed with a heart disease increase their risk of having a harmful heart-related event occurring within that year.  

“In fact, if you have any type of heart disease, any strong emotion such as anger may also cause severe and fatal irregular heart rhythms. Expressions like ‘died from fright’ and ‘worried to death’ are not just hyperbole—they are physiologic possibilities,” Dr. Srini Pallay wrote for Harvard Health.  

It may not be surprising that anger and bitterness are linked to heart disease, but quieter, negative emotions are also detrimental. You don’t have to already have a heart condition to have it affect you.  

"Study after study has shown that people who feel lonely, depressed, and isolated are many times more likely to get sick and die prematurely—not only of heart disease but from virtually all causes—than those who have a sense of connection, love and community," Dean Ornish, the founder, president and director of Preventive Medicine Research Institute, told WebMD.

Related: Reasons Why Being Positive Is Good for Your Health  

Controlling your emotions

Worry, stress, anxiety, and depression are linked to increased risk of heart problems, and severe depression doubles the risk of dying from a heart problem. So, how do you control the emotions that trigger such unwanted side-effects? Here are some simple ways to start.  

Exercise at least one hour three times a week

It doesn’t matter how you get it, but aerobic exercise helps both the heart and brain. Exercise can clear your mind of worrisome thought and help you deal with stressful matters.    

Practice mindfulness

Meditation is a wonderful and effective way to relieve stress. You can try apps like Headspace or Calm (there other options out there as well), or make yoga a daily practice. Join a class or find a free Yoga video on YouTube if that’s more your thing. (Yoga with Adriene is a good place to start for beginners.)  

Find a therapist

If you haven’t already, a therapist can be helpful with teaching healthy mental practices. If that’s completely out of your comfort range, consider looking into an online therapist. The American Psychological Association gives pointers on how to choose a good online therapist.

Journal or practice expressive writing

Creative writing can be helpful because it gives you space and freedom to express your true thoughts—even if no one ever reads them. Try writing out your feelings and see if it relieves stress. 

Related: 5 Simple Heart-healthy Changes You Can Make Today  

Leave the house

Be active, be social, and get to know your neighbors. Making connections and maintaining friendships is a mutually beneficial way to decrease stress and not feel isolated. Check two things off your to-do list at once—take a neighbor for a walk around the neighborhood. The exercise mixed with the social aspect will do your heart and mind good.  

Force a laugh

It sounds silly but smiling can decrease your stress. Studies show the actual act of smiling releases messaging to the brain that you're happy. So even if it doesn't start out as a genuine smile or laugh, it just might turn into one! Managing mental and physical health can feel overwhelming at times, but start by picking one thing to try this month. Little by little you’ll be your healthiest you. 

And while you’re here, check out our other articles on healthy living.


SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

You May Also Like...

Healthcare and Insurance Basics

Why Kids Need the Measles Vaccine

For parents: Here’s what you should know about the measles vaccine.

Nutrition and Diet

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Rest assured knowing the ingredients of your salad dressing by making this pomegranate vinaigrette at home—it’s perfect to add to your favorite green leafy salad.

In the Community

How to Cope with Wildfire Smoke

Because fires are still burning in the western part of the country, it’s important to know what to do to protect you and your family.


Why Transparency is Essential to Help Lower Cost of Prescription Drugs

Explaining why prescription drugs cost so much is complicated. But here’s what we’re doing to advocate for more transparency in the pharmacy industry.

Related Articles

Related Articles

Healthy Living

How to Dispose of Your Medications Safely

Don't know what to do with expired medications? Find out how to dispose of them properly.

Healthy Living

6 Things to Do in the Morning to Have a Successful Day

Starting your morning right is your best bet to having a successful day—no matter what life decides to throw at you.

Healthy Living

Why Sleep Is Important at Any Age

The amount of sleep we get varies from person to person—but quality sleep is important for everyone.

Healthy Living

7 Ways to Strengthen a Relationship

It’s the simple things that can transform a good relationship into a great one. Have you tried these?

Post Author

Amberlee Lovell Peterson
Amberlee is a content manager, freelance writer, and designer. She is currently working on launching her own podcast and loves baby foxes.