The Duke University Medical Center has published a report confirming that stress management appears to reduce the long-term chances of heart patients having another “cardiac event” and also provides an immediate and significant cost savings.
The team found a financial benefit of stress management strategies within the first year of the study. Average costs for patients who utilized stress management were $1,228 per patient during the first year, as compared to $2,352 per patient for those who exercised and $4,523 per patient for those who received usual care.
The medical center defines a cardiac event as “bypass surgery, angioplasty, heart attack or death.”
My grandfather died of a heart attack when he was pretty young. I can just imagine the people at his funeral saying, “That was one heck of a cardiac event.”
The results of this heady scientific research project seem pretty obvious to me, but I guess that wasn’t the case for the National Institutes of Health, who issued three grants for the study. I’m also not sure that we need to provide massive stress management programs to teach people something that once was second nature to us. I don’t see too many children dropping dead from “cardiac events,” do you?
At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, here are 8 simple and free ways to help prevent “cardiac events”:
• Laugh. The average preschooler laughs 450 times per day. The average adult laughs just 15 times per day. Quit taking yourself too seriously.
• Take A Walk. Exercise is important, but it’s not a choice between daily sweatfests at the gym or nothing. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away at the supermarket. Lose the riding lawnmower. (Unless you’re in charge of keeping the local football field in tip-top shape.)
• Take A Bubble Bath. When was the last time you did that?
• Get 8 Hours of Sleep. Or at least seven.
• Take Frequent Naps. You may or may not want to pull a George Costanza and sleep under your desk (if you do, pack an alarm clock), but Saturday afternoon naps are going out of fashion. Check the TV for golf – you’ll be out like a light.
• Use Babysitters. You deserve a night to yourself.
• Be Off When You’re Off. When you’re at work, work hard. But when your off work, let it go. Don’t think about it. Learn to shut that part of your mind off for a day or two and be amazed at how productive you become.
• Laugh. I know, I know, I mentioned this one already. But that preschooler is kicking your butt – you’ve got 434 more laughs to go. Here’s some help.