A stroke can create devastating damage to your brain. Alarmingly, researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that if you let three emotions get out of control, your risk for stroke rises significantly.
In an analysis of the health of more than 6,700 people, they found that:
- Feeling depressed increases your stroke risk by 86 percent.
- If you are continually stressed out, your stroke risk climbs by 59 percent.
- Experiencing prolonged hostility doubles your chance of stroke.
“There’s such a focus on traditional risk factors — cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking and so forth — and those are all very important, but studies like this one show that psychological characteristics are equally important,” says researcher Susan Everson-Rose.
So if you can find ways to defuse your hostility, depression and stress, you may be able to lower your chances of a stroke.
“One thing we didn’t assess is coping strategies,” Everson-Rose says. “If someone is experiencing depressive symptoms or feeling a lot of stress or hostility, we don’t know how they manage those, so it’s possible that positive coping strategies could ameliorate some of these associations or effects. “We did not inquire about coping. I would say that’s one of the tasks for future studies.”