Can Stress cause heart disease or stroke?


The Lancet has published an article suggesting that constant high levels of stress has a link to chronic heart disease.
The study at Harvard medical school points to heightened activity in the area brain known as the amygdala in patients who reported high levels of stress in their lives. (latin for almond, due to its shape). It’s the area of the brain that processes emotions. The research suggests that in times of great stress brought on by fear or anger the amygdala signals the bone marrow to produce extra white blood cells.
We are back to my ideas on limiting inflammation to promote well being.
These extra white blood cells that should be heading off to support an injured part of the body have no where to go. It is thought that the extra white blood cells can cause inflammation in blood and arteries. This can lead to heart attacks and stroke.
Therefore reducing stress could provide benefits well beyond psychological good health.
It made me think of a plaque at The Garrison in Barbados that stated that the island has the second highest number of centenarian as a percentage of the population worldwide. Don’t worry, drink rum and wait for the rain to pass as the sun will be shining very soon.
Barbados has free health care for its residents. A Bajan NHS.

I bumped into a neighbour whilst shopping.
This lady has lost her daughter to cancer at the young age of only 21. Unfortunately, it is one of those unthinkable events that is so profound that life before and after the event can never be anything like each other. I know she lost her father to the disease when she was an eight year old child too.
I always make time to compliment her on her make-up, hair style clothing , anything really to boost her spirit for a moment.
We got chatting and she was telling me that she had her teenage years in Glasgow in the 1960’s. Suddenly, her face lightened and her eyes began to twinkle. I asked her about boyfriends and she told me she had had many and could tell me a few tales. I urged her to write it down and let me have a little read. I hoped she spent a little time thinking about a more carefree time.
It made me think that we may all have a favourite time in our lives. Perhaps thinking about that time and having memory triggers we can have a stress escape route. Bring on songs from Culture club and Cinzano.
My husband told me on holiday that a necklace I was wearing made him unexplainably happy. It was a beautiful blue feather on a beaded chain that I had last worn in The Bahamas in the year 2000. I remember wearing it with a blue skimpy dress to a party on our last night. We had drank cocktails and sang the song “Yellow Bird” into the small hours.
This makes me think that we could perhaps each have our own happy memory place to go in extreme stress. Happy triggers could be music, clothing, photographs even aromas. A memory emergency kit is well worth considering.
My husbands can start with a necklace with a beautiful blue feather. If all else fails he can wear it on a windy day and it will tickle him under his chin.


Friendship Paths


Imagine a walk through a wooded area just after a rainstorm.

The paths differ, some are easy to navigate without any mud or puddles. Paths wide enough to pass easily maybe with the chance to catch the warmth of your sun of your face. These paths  are the paths that we find the majority of our lives. We can use these paths and have company quite easily as we make our journey. Many types of friends and acquaintances can join us on these paths with ease.

Friendships that endure are with the friends that we walk down muddy narrow paths with.  These paths are difficult and we choose friends who are not only prepared to walk these paths with us, but are also prepared to offer their hand to guide and steady us.

How about if we have a choice of paths. Perhaps we are at a junction and we can either take an easy path or a difficult one. Beware of a faux friend who will enjoy convincing us to take the narrow path with puddles of unknown depths..

We therefore have our fair-weather friends, our true friends and faux friends.