Let’s start this article by taking a deep breath … in… and out … in … and out. Now that we’re calm, let’s talk about these “peaceful” topics – high blood pressure and stress! These aren’t everyone’s favorite topics to read about, but I hope to put you at ease when it comes to these anxiety-filled topics.
Let’s first talk about stress and how to reduce it. I’m sure we have all had a family member, friend or a stranger giving unsolicited advice: “Just don’t worry so much!” Unfortunately, that advice alone is not always the cure. Often we need a little more help than hearing the words “stop stressing.” Here are some ways to reduce stress. They’re not a cure, but they can help you work through stressful situations:
Take a moment for yourself
- This could be shutting your room or office door, closing your eyes, and taking in some deep breaths or humming your favorite tune. It only takes a few minutes to reset! There are plenty of apps, guides and gurus to lead you through this – test out different methods to see what works best for you!
Cool off… literally!
- Before we erupt like a volcano, cool yourself down with these tricks. Depending on the time of year, outside can be a quick cool-down zone. If weather is not on your side, take a drink of ice-cold water, press a cold towel over your eyes or neck, or roll out stressed muscles with a cooling roller ball.
Move away from the problem
- I’m not talking about dropping everything and moving across the country – just away from the high-stress zone for a moment! Take a walk to the water fountain, bathroom or the great outdoors. Getting out of the stressful environment, even for a few minutes, can help give yourself a break to reset.
Now let’s get into blood pressure! High blood pressure could be something you were diagnosed with by your doctor or it may run in your family. So what does this mean? As your heart beats, blood pumps through your arteries. When blood pressure is high, this increases the pressure inside your arteries, which could damage them. This damage could lead to a heart attack, stroke or other health issues. How can we lower our blood pressure? Reducing our stress levels, which we previously discussed, is a great start! Below are a few more ways to lower your blood pressure.
Create a new eating plan
- Focus on finding foods that are rich in nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein and fiber. Fill half your plate with colorful fresh, frozen or canned (no salt or sugar added) fruits and vegetables. Go for lean proteins, whole grains and lower-fat or fat-free dairy products to add to your plate. Keep an eye on the sodium content of your meals and snacks – ask your doctor or dietitian how much to limit your sodium intake.
- Get the heart pumping with 30 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity 5 days per week. This could be activities like brisk walking, swimming or weight-bearing exercises.
- If you are overweight, weight loss may help lower your blood pressure. Talk with a Hy-Vee dietitian about developing a safe and sustainable weight loss plan.
The bottom line is: Reducing stress and creating healthier habits for yourself can help lower your blood pressure. Changes like these can take time, but your health is worth it!
Need help to achieve these health goals? Go to the Hy-Vee dietitian website and from there you will find the dietitian who covers your area and can move forward with setting up an appointment for a FREE Discovery Session. This session allows us to learn more about your health and wellness goals and discover which of our many services will be the best fit for your needs.
*The blog articles, recipes and recommendations found on this site are not intended as medical advice and should not replace consulting with your medical provider. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.