Is stress a part of your daily life? Most people feel at least a little stress every day. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 8 in 10 Americans report being frequently or sometimes stressed in their daily lives. Between your work, social life, and family responsibilities, you may feel that there isn’t possibly enough time to get everything done. This can lead to stress.
Stress isn’t something to ignore, because stress and high blood pressure go hand in hand. Fortunately, there are ways you can manage stress and keep your heart healthy. At Optimal Performance Medicine, Michael Skardasis, MD, and the rest of his team can help you learn ways to decrease stress and keep your high blood pressure in check.
Stress, on its face, is a good thing. It’s a hormonal rush that increases blood flow to the essential parts of your body during dangerous or consequential moments. It’s a part of your fight-or-flight response.
That increased blood flow, though, is meant to be temporary. It’s not healthy if your heartbeat is elevated for long periods of time. While you may not be able to avoid stress, there are ways to lessen it and give your heart and blood vessels a break.
1. Hit the gym
Exercise is important when it comes to lowering high blood pressure. And you don’t have to join a gym to get your exercise. Walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, cycling, and playing sports can all be a part of getting to your recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week.
2. Eat better and watch the scale
Weight gain and high blood pressure go hand in hand. The National Institutes of Health has found that losing just 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure. When looking to change your diet, consider not just what you’re eating, but how much. Serving size can impact caloric intake as much as the actual food you’re eating.
3. Change how you do things
Reshaping your routine can help lessen stress. Instead of tackling big things all at once, break them up into chunks. If you have a lot to do, make a list so you can plan things out. And if needed, say no to things you know you won’t be able to accomplish. Also, make sure you set aside time to do things you enjoy.
4. Give deep breathing and meditation a try
There is real science behind the powerful effects that deep breathing and meditation can have on heart health. When it comes to stress and hypertension, the benefits are twofold. Deep breathing and meditation can your lower heart rate and alleviate stress. Just 15 minutes can make a difference.
5. Cut back on alcohol and tobacco
Certain European people groups are famous for attributing their long life spans to drinking a glass of wine every night. The key is that it’s a single glass. Excessive drinking, even just one day a week, can spike your blood pressure and reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications. And there’s no redeeming value with smoking. Besides potentially causing cancer, smoking raises blood pressure during the activity and for many minutes afterward.
You don’t have to fight stress and hypertension on your own. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Optimal Performance Medicine today.