Stress isn’t good for your heart. Studies show that chronic stress (like being a caregiver for a sick family member or having a boss who makes you feel bad) and occasional stress (like getting stuck in a traffic jam) both make your blood pressure climb.
Taking your medications correctly and regularly is one way to help keep your blood pressure stable even during times of stress. But there are also other things you can do that are good for your health and that help relieve stress and bring your blood pressure down to a healthier level.
Identify what makes you feel stressed and find ways to change it. If you feel stressed when driving to work, because traffic is terrible, explore using public transportation instead.
Find practical solutions to problems that cause ongoing stress. Worried about bills? See a credit counselor, plan a budget or find other ways to take control over your financial problems. Argue with your spouse about cleaning the house? Hire a cleaning service every two weeks if you can afford it.
Keep a gratitude journal. Every evening, take five minutes to think about and write down three things about your day that you have appreciated. It can be as simple as a phone call to an old friend – a funny video on Facebook – or a beautiful sunset.