Hypertension Controlling Stress Management

Too much stress is bad for your health—but so is too little. Stress is a perfectly natural reaction that prepares you for action. It’s the old “fight or flight” principle, and it worked to keep our ancestors alive back when they lived in caves. In a stressful situation, cortisol and adrenaline are released into our bloodstreams, raising our normal blood pressure.

The trouble is that this works much better when you’re being chased by a saber-toothed tiger than it does when you’re working on an annual report and dealing with time management stress. Stress hormones were designed to be quickly flushed out of our systems by action—either “fight” or “flight.” We often don’t get that release with modern day stressors. The hormones linger in our blood, pushing up our normal blood pressure.

Techniques that Lower Blood Pressure and Stress

To reduce stress, try the following techniques:

  • Deep breathing
  • Effective goal-setting
  • Exercise
  • Hobbies
  • Meditation
  • Progressive relaxation
  • Time management.

Management of Stress

Researchers have known for years that continuous stress can raise normal blood pressure levels. However, stress that causes higher-than-normal blood pressure for one person may have no effect on another person.

We react individually to stressors, and because of this, stress management techniques have to be tailored to the individual. Not every strategy works for everyone. While deep breathing and progressive relaxation may lower one person’s blood pressure, another person may find those stress management techniques actually increase stress.

Examine Your Stressors

The first step toward reducing stress and lowering your blood pressure is identifying what you, personally, deem stressful. Make a list of the stressors in your life, and consider your options. You can fight stress in two ways–by learning general stress-reducing techniques, or by removing the stressor. Perhaps learning deep breathing techniques are all you need to reduce work stress–or perhaps it’s time to consider a less-stressful job, particularly if work-related stress is affecting your health.

Preventing stress from affecting your normal blood pressure can be as easy as taking up a hobby you enjoy. Physical activity works stress hormones out of the bloodstream, thereby lowering blood pressure.

Small Steps to Stress Reduction

Stress reduction need not always involve deep breathing or New Age mysticism.

Try some of these simple ideas to get your stress under control:

  • Congratulating yourself on what you did right today
  • Gardening
  • Going for a walk
  • Listening to quiet music
  • Spending time with your pets
  • Taking the time to plan your day
  • Watching a sunset or sunrise.

Resource

Linden, W., Lenz, J.W.