High Blood Pressure and Stress Reducing Activities
High blood pressure is related to the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, especially when it is present with other risk factors. Here we provide stress reducer activities to lower high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is simply the force of the blood pushing on the walls of the arteries, as the heart pumps blood around the body.
In adults the average male has a blood pressure reading of 120mmHg (slightly less for females). At the end of the contraction when the heart muscle relaxes this blood pressure drops to about 80 mmHg in the average male (slightly less for females).
Chronically elevated high blood pressure, a condition known as hypertension, is usually when the blood pressure exceeds 160/95 mmHg.
It has been estimated that roughly 15-20 % of the population suffer from hypertension.
The majority of hypertension (roughly 90% of cases) are essential hypertension!
What this means is that the origin of the hypertension is unknown.
Here we look at:
Stress and blood pressure
When stressed there is a spike in blood pressure.
This is because the heart works harder to pump blood around the body and stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline constrict the blood vessels which further increase blood pressure.
But after the short-term stress the blood pressure tends to go down.
But what is we suffer from continual stress?
For many of us stress is a fact of life and we are constantly facing the stress of work deadlines, overwhelming family responsibilities, and concerns about finances.
Does chronic stress lead to chronic elevated high blood pressure, a condition known as hypertension?
Currently there does not appear to be any proof to support that stress causes hypertension.
But stress causes spikes in blood pressure, and if they occur often enough, can damage your blood vessels, kidneys, and liver!
While there is little proof that stress causes chronic high blood pressure it does not mean that stress is not related indirectly to hypertension.
For example, poor coping skills for stress, such as smoking, drinking, or unhealthy food choices increase your risk of hypertension.
If you display coronary artery disease symptoms or are borderline hypertensive then your doctor could order you a stress test to examine in more detail your coronary artery flow.
Stress reducing activities to lower blood pressure
Stress reducers may not directly lower your high blood pressure but in the long-term they can provide you with numerous ways to improve your health.
By taking control of your stress you can change your behavior, and it is this change in behavior that may have a direct impact on your high blood pressure.
For example, rather than unhealthy coping skills for stress (such as poor eating choices or smoking or drinking more) you can choose effective stress management techniques that take charge of stress.
Here are some options to reduce stress.
Pare down your to do list
Often taking on too much and having too much to do in too little time is a significant cause of stress.
Review your to-do list and activities over the next week.
How many of them move you toward your long-term goals?
Schedule less time for activities that are not important to you or your long-term goals.
Here are some ideas to boost your effective time management.
Breathing techniques to relax
One of the common signs of stress is shallow and rapid breathing.
To counter the stress response you can deepen your breathing and slow down your breathing rate.
These breathing exercises help you to take control of stress quickly.
Exercise is a natural way to rid your body of stress.
One of the commonest physical stress symptoms is excess muscle tension. Exercise uses up this excess muscle tension and rids your body of the stress hormones.
Exercise can also lower your systolic blood pressure by as much as 10mmHg.
Here are some tips for exercise and stress reduction.
Take up yoga and meditation
Yoga and meditation not only exercise your mind but are great ways to incorporate physical activity into your routine.
Get a better nights sleep
If you are fatigued or sleep deprived this can magnify your problems and put you on a vicious cycle of increasing stress. These natural sleep aids may be of benefit to you.
Search here for other stress reducers
Related stress management articles
Stress and Chest Pain: Chest Pain Stress and What to Do About It.
Teen Depression: Understanding Teenage Depression.
Sleep Disorders: How Stress Affects Sleep Disorders Like Insomnia.
Stress Depression: Stress, Anxiety, and Depression.
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