There are a variety of factors which contribute to high blood pressure – smoking, being overweight, lack of physical activity and maintaining a diet high in sodium among them. But one of the major culprits is likely to afflict all of us at one stage or another: stress.
As uncontrolled high blood pressure can have destructive effects on your health, and lead to conditions like stroke and heart disease, it’s important that you keep track of your numbers and curb your risk factors.
If stress is a common occurrence in your life, here are some tips that will help you gain control over it.
1. Know Your Limitations. Are there not enough hours in the day to fulfill your work and family responsibilities? It helps to prioritize. Determine which activities must get done now and which ones can wait. And don’t be afraid to decline new requests that come your way if you’re too overwhelmed.
2. Let go and focus. There are some things in life that you can’t control. The trick is in realizing the ones you can, and to devote your focus strictly on them. If you're prone to procrastination, you should break up your biggest projects into smaller tasks. And you should avoid or limit contact with any persons who cause you undue stress.
3. Stay fit. It’s the end of the day, and you’re tired, but you should still take a brief walk – maybe for 10 minutes – instead of vegetating in front of the TV for the rest of the night. Why? Because even moderate amounts of exercise release mood-enhancing endorphins, which help relieve stress. A healthy diet, a full night’s sleep and avoidance of too much alcohol or caffeine can also strengthen your defenses against stress.
4. Find your joy. Even if your schedule seems overstuffed, try to squeeze in time for activities you enjoy. Maybe that's a yoga session, a movie, dinner with a friend, or a few moments to work on a hobby.
6. Talk to a good listener. You can’t underestimate the power of a good listener if you’ve had a bad day or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Your closest friends and loved ones can help you face your next challenge with a renewed sense of strength and support.
Your Watson Clinic family medicine physician can help you keep your stress level in check. Call 863-680-7190 to schedule an appointment with one of our more than 50 internal and family medicine specialists today.