Let’s see… a global pandemic, out of control fires and a heated presidential election. To say this year has been stressful would be an understatement.
As reach the end of 2020, most of us look back at the past few months and feel our blood pressure rise. And that’s not healthy. It’s just not healthy living with all of this stress!
Even when there aren’t global pandemics and riots happening, most of us live with our fair share of stress just trying to pay the mortgage and deal with commuter traffic and tyrannical bosses.
But, when stress isn’t dealt with in healthy ways, it can and does lead to high blood pressure. And high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart disease and even death if IT’S not dealt with.
With this in mind, here are 8 ways you can deal with the stress in your life so you can keep your blood pressure down.
Without question one of the best things you can do to combat stress is to exercise daily. When we move our bodies, we lower our body’s stress hormones like cortisol. Exercise also helps us release more “feel good” endorphins.
But that’s not all. Exercise also improves the quality of our sleep, which often takes a hit when we’re stressed. Sleep is important to keep us healthy.
To really get the most benefits of exercise, look for those activities that use the most muscle groups. Weightlifting is fantastic, walking swimming and dancing are also great. Find something you love to do so you’ll commit to an exercise routine.
Essential oils and scented candles can help a person reduce their anxiety and stress.
You’ve probably heard that lavender is a calming scent, but here are some others that work as well:
- Roman chamomile
- Ylang ylang
- Orange or orange blossom
Studies have shown that aromatherapy can not only decrease your stress and anxiety but also improve your sleep.
- Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know that caffeine, when consumed in moderation, offers some benefits. But not if you are dealing with stress and anxiety! That’s because caffeine is a stimulant and high doses can actually INCREASE your anxiety.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to quit forever. But when dealing with a stressful situation, it’s best to decrease or limit your caffeine consumption altogether.
- Focus on the Positive
“The squeaky wheel gets the oil” is the old saying. This very much applies to how our minds work. That “loud and annoying” thing happening in our lives tends to get all of our attention. But we aren’t FORCED to give the stress our attention, it’s really just a bad mental habit.
A good stress buster is to simply put your focus elsewhere. While there may be bad happening in your life, there is always, always good. Think of the good. Take notice of the positive things in your life and spend time reflecting on what you are grateful for. Your health. The people in your life. That you have a nice house and a car that gets you from point A to point B. The sunshine, your dog and the birds chirping.
- Chew Gum
Did you know that chewing a stick of gum can reduce your stress levels? Researchers aren’t exactly sure why this happens. One possible explanation is that chewing gum promotes blood flow to the brain. Another is that chewing gum causes brain waves similar to those seen in relaxed people.
A good idea is to stick to sugarless gum to calm your stress while protecting your teeth and gums.
- Spend Time with Loved Ones
When we are dealing with stress, we tend to self-isolate. But this isolation can make us feel far more anxious. It’s much better to surround yourself with people who make you feel good and safe. Support from friends and family is one of the best ways to deal with your stress.
Being with loved ones causes our body to release oxytocin, which is a natural stress reliever. We can also get this oxytocin boost when we spend time with our furry family as well. So be sure to give your dog and cat some extra cuddling time.
- Laugh More
You may be thinking, “It’s hard to laugh when you’re feeling anxious.” But know this – the opposite is also true: it’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing!
Laughter really can be the best medicine. It releases feel good hormones and helps us release tension in our muscles. And in the long run laughter can also boost our immune system.
So, watch some of your favorite funny movies or go to Youtube and watch funny animal clips. Those always make me laugh!
- Breathe Deeply
When we’re stressed, our body goes into “fight or flight” mode. This reactions is what helped our ancestors survive for hundreds of thousands of years. During fight or flight mode, certain hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released, which help make our hearts beat faster, our blood pressure rises, and we take shallower breaths.
When we breathe deeply, we send a signal to our entire body that the harm has passed, and we can now relax. Go ahead and try it right now. Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, hold it for one second, and release that breath slowly through your mouth.
You feel calmer. Deep breathing is not some woo-woo idea, it’s grounded in science. Breathing slowly and deeply will tell your body “all is well now you can relax.”
Stress can be an absolute killer. It wreaks havoc on our body and health and so it must be dealt with in heathy ways. If you follow these tips, you should be able to handle whatever life throws your way.
Still Having Trouble Getting Your Blood Pressure Down?
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