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Whether you’re stuck in traffic, have an overbooked schedule or are experiencing strain on a relationship — it seems as if emotional stress is a natural part of life.
You might feel the emotional toll on your mind and spirit, but did you know your body’s physical reaction to stress can have a direct impact on your blood pressure? That’s because your body produces a surge of hormones that increase it during stressful moments. Even if your elevated blood pressure is only temporary, over time even these short episodes can cause permanent damage to your blood vessels and heart.
It’s our goal to protect your health in body, mind and spirit. So take a deep breath and note of these important tips to reduce the effects of stress on your blood pressure.
Protect Yourself from Stress-Induced High Blood Pressure
You can’t always control the causes of your stress, but you can reduce its impact on your blood pressure. Learn to recognize your personal triggers for stress, as well as how to effectively cope with stress before it takes a toll on your health. Try these tips to manage daily stress.
Avoid Coping Mechanisms
It may be tempting to turn to unhealthy behaviors, like overeating, to calm your stress levels, but these methods offer only temporary relief and can even increase blood pressure. After they wear off, you’re left with more stress and the negative health effects. Have a healthy stress management plan and create new healthy habits that promote health while reducing stress, such as going for a walk, drinking water, meditating, or calling a close friend or family member for some emotional support.
Instill tech-free time in your day to destress your mind from the constant information overload. Put away your phone, turn off your laptop and do something you enjoy, such as reading a book, working a puzzle or gardening. Focused, slow-paced activities will lower your blood pressure and you’ll come back refreshed and less stressed overall.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are powerful calming chemicals to combat stress. Exercising is also key to heart health and a known factor in lowering blood pressure. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to get the most benefit from this natural stress relief.
Spending time with friends and family can help reduce stress. If you’re experiencing stress as the direct result of a specific situation — for example, relationship problems or caring for an elderly loved one — consider talking to a therapist or joining a support group to connect with others in similar situations.
Looking for and actively naming the good in your life on a regular basis is a proven way to lower stress and your blood pressure. Make it a point to pause at the beginning and end of each day and list a few items you’re grateful for right now. Keep a list that you can refer to when you feel especially overwhelmed or stressed.
Help Beyond Self-Care
If your blood pressure is still too high, even after taking steps to reduce your stress, you may need to talk to your doctor about your next steps. He or she can develop a customized treatment plan to help address your stress and manage your blood pressure. Find your whole-health expert today.