How stress can harm your heart

Stressful experiences are hard to avoid and impossible to predict. But taking steps to bolster your resilience may help.

Published: July, 2020

The palpable stress stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic has made things once considered stressful — such as deadlines or traffic jams — seem pretty trivial in comparison. But while you may not be able to avoid the stressful situations that come your way, there are ways to mitigate your body's response to those events.

So far, the evidence that stress management strategies can protect your heart is limited but growing. Yet there's no doubt that stress contributes to heart problems. "The link between stress and cardiovascular disease is well established," says cardiologist Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »