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Hypertension prevention tip #6: Reduce stress

Long-term (chronic) emotional stress may contribute to high blood pressure. When people are stressed, they are less likely to engage in healthy habits. The good news is that stress can be treated!

First, reflect on what causes your stress. It could be work, family, finances, or illness. Next, develop strategies to better manage it. Some ideas:

  • Avoid trying to do too much.Plan your day and focus on your priorities. Learn to say “no.” Allow enough time to get done what needs to be done.
  • Focus on issues you can control and make plans to solve them.For an issue at work, talk to a supervisor. If you have a conflict with your kids or spouse, find ways to resolve it rather than letting it simmer.
  • Avoid stress triggers.For example, if rush-hour traffic causes stress, travel at a different time or take public transportation. If possible, avoid people who cause stress.
  • Make time to relax.Take time each day to sit quietly and breathe deeply. Make time for enjoyable activities or hobbies, such as taking a walk, cooking, or volunteering.
  • Practice gratitude.Expressing gratitude to others can help reduce stress.

Breathing exercises, physical activity, and good sleep can also help you manage stress.

Read about other ways lifestyle medicine can help you prevent hypertension:

If you have questions or concerns about your blood pressure, be sure to schedule an appointment with your clinician.

Dr. Joan Hunter is an internist at Vancouver Clinic. She enjoys working with patients to help them make small changes that lead to better wellness. She has a special interest in women’s health and lifestyle medicine.