It’s no surprise that divorce can cause a great deal of stress. However, researchers recently discovered that getting a divorce can increase the chance that a woman will have a heart attack. A study found that a first divorce increases a woman’s risk of heart attack by nearly a quarter, while two divorces raise that risk over three-quarters. Women may also experience Broken Heart Syndrome which happens to an over-stressed heart.

If you’re divorced or about to be here in West Virginia, this information doesn’t have to frighten you. Experts say that there are multiple ways to reduce your stress, thereby decreasing the chance that you could have a heart attack. There are certain steps you can take on your own and some that may involve the assistance of others.

Protect your heart on your own

One of the first things you can do to help yourself is consider what stress-relieving habits you already have or what you may have done in the past to soothe yourself. Some people like to take long baths, while others may read a calming book. If you don’t have something in mind, this is the perfect time to develop a new helpful habit to reduce your stress.

It’s also vital to show yourself kindness at this time. This can mean ensuring that you eat, get adequate sleep and avoid beating yourself up. Some people think they need to push past the pain of ending their marriage, but experts say you may need to grieve for your marriage the same way you might for a person who died. Acknowledging what happened and how it makes you feel can help you work through it.

Protect your heart with the help of others

It can be tempting to close yourself off from others, but this is the exact time you should reach out for support. Many people have either gone through divorce themselves or may be happy to help you through this time. A good activity you could do with friends that may also help your heart is exercise. Although you can do exercise on your own, time with friends could be a good incentive.

The most important thing is that you prioritize your health. Getting a divorce is no small matter, and it is okay to treat it that way in order to help yourself get through it. One thing that may help with your stress is working with an experienced divorce attorney. Having professional legal advice may be one of the kindest things you can do for yourself.