We know that stress especially persistent stress can increase your blood pressure and have a negative impact on your health. However, research has shown that you if you use Mind- Body Practices, you can improve your health by reducing your body’s stress response. Examples of Mind Body Practices that are available with the aid of a qualified instructor include hypnosis, guided imagery, yoga and tai chi. You might also find that meditation and relaxation techniques are also effective.
There have been several well-designed studies that show meditation can lower blood pressure. Dr. Benson (Harvard-affiliated Benson-Henry for Mindy Body Medicine) recommends practicing the following relaxation response two times per day for 10 to 20 minutes each time. It is easy, simply follow the steps below. Try this exercise daily for 8 weeks.
- Sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed.
- Relax your muscles and silently repeat a word, phrase, sounds or short prayer of your choosing over and over.
- When stray thoughts enter (and they will) let them come and go and return to your word, phrase or sound.
Other ways to reduce stress:
- Take a 5- minute break when you feel overwhelmed.
- Get some fresh air, go outside and take a walk. Physical activity can be an instant stress relief.
- Talk it out with a friend or family member. Use your support system!
- Take some time for yourself each day.
- Listen to or create your own music.
- Journal your thoughts, worries, gratitude. Write it out.
- Practice deep-breathing.
- Think positive!
Talk to your health care provider about using mind-body methods to help take charge of your health.
Note: A GOOD or NORMAL blood pressure reading is consistently BELOW 120/80. A one-time reading above 120/80 does not indicate an issue. Stress, diet, and other factors can temporarily increase your blood pressure.
Source: Complete Wellness Solutions. Completely Well Newsletter, May, 2021.