How you perceive and react to stressful events is more important to your health than how frequently you encounter stress, according to health researchers from Penn State and Columbia University.
It is known that stress and negative emotions can increase the risk of heart disease, but the reasons why are not well understood. One potential pathway linking stress to future heart disease is a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system — a case of a person’s normally self-regulated nervous system getting off track.
Nancy L. Sin and colleagues wanted to find out if daily stress and heart rate variability — a measure of autonomic regulation of the heart — are linked. Heart rate variability is the variation in intervals between consecutive heartbeats.