Stress Relief – Depression, Sleep, Stress and Heart Health

My normal Monday post is “Posture Monday,” in which I lay out an exercise to help you correct your posture. Unfortunately, yesterday there was no Posture Monday post because I have been sleep deprived, stressed and depressed.

Interestingly, another thing I’ve been known to spill a pixel or two about came up through this sleep deprived depression, my resting heart rate. Last week, I began to feel the effects of the approaching school year, and the impending final good-bye to my parents’ cottage (which has been in the family since 1943).

Sleep Deprivation

One of those effects was that it became harder to fall asleep. Another was that the quality of my sleep dropped, precipitously. This led to the sleep deprivation and one of the effects of sleep deprivation is heightened cortisol levels, i.e. stress.

In turn, one of the effects of stress is depression. It’s all linked together; your body and your mind are coupled, and what affects one affects the other.

  • Being sad made it hard to sleep
  • Being sleep deprived stressed me out
  • Being stressed out made me depressed

Even worse, my number one stress busting technique is exercise, and I was too tired for that. Eventually I began to get stress headaches, which also mean no sleep and no exercise.

Heart Health

But Andrew, you mentioned something about heart health, didn’t you?

Yes I did. In just 3 days my resting heart rate went up 4 bpm.

Then Sunday, I began the turn around.

  • I spent the day enjoying time with my family
  • I picked a small (very small) something from my to-do list, and did it.
  • I spent some alone time with my wife
  • I watched a couple of episodes in the BBC miniseries, “Pride and Prejudice”
  • I went to bed on time, and got a decent night’s sleep
  • Then yesterday I attacked another thing on my to do list, and then another
  • StandUpRight and I watched more of “Pride and Prejudice”
  • I got another, even better night’s sleep
  • I went for a good, hard run
  • Finally, I attended to a much larger item on my to-do list, by getting my JV campaign going.

And you know what funny little thing happened through all of this? The peak of my stress, exhaustion and depression coincided with the peak of my heart rate.

Conversely, as my stress went away, my sleep got better and my heartrate is dropping right back to its normal levels.

  • Socialization
  • Exercise
  • Tuning out
  • Family
  • Lifting the weight of the unfinished business

They all reduce your stress and they all work in a virtuous cycle to keep you healthy, happy and (relatively) stress free.

Teach Your Gift

Finally, if you have ever had any interest in creating a side income through teaching your unique expertise to the world, consider joining Danny Iny’s “Find your winning idea challenge.” I give you a lot more details here.

Or, you can get the word straight from the horses mouth here: