Eight Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Harvard Medical School gives advice on how to keep your blood pressure and stress levels low.

Blood pressure photo via Shutterstock

Blood pressure photo via Shutterstock

One way to prevent and treat high blood pressure—without pills—is to manage stress. Well, that’s easier said than done, right? We have work, kids, and families—not to mention snow in March—to deal with, so who has the time? We tend give the side eye when someone tells us how easy something is anyway, but in this case, these easy tips really can help manage your day—and perhaps save your life.

Harvard Health Publications, from Harvard Medical School, advises these easy ways to manage stress in order to keep your blood pressure low:

1. Get enough sleep.
Inadequate or poor quality sleep can negatively affect your mood, mental alertness, energy level, and physical health.

2. Learn relaxation techniques.
Meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, deep breathing exercises, and yoga are powerful stress-busters.

3. Strengthen your social network.
Connect with others by taking a class, joining an organization, or participating in a support group.

4. Hone your time-management skills.
The more efficiently you can juggle work and family demands, the lower your stress level.

5. Try to resolve stressful situations if you can.
Don’t let stressful situations fester. Hold family problem-solving sessions and use negotiation skills at home and at work.

6. Nurture yourself.
Treat yourself to a massage. Truly savor an experience: for example, eat slowly and really focusing on the taste and sensations of each bite. Take a walk or a nap or listen to your favorite music.

7. Ask for help. Probably the hardest of them all, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your spouse, friends, neighbors, or your doctor.

8. Keep a healthy lifestyle.
Maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, regular exercise, and a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthful fats can all help make high blood pressure a thing of the past.