How’s your blood pressure? Do you know your numbers? 20% of people with high blood pressure don’t even know it. It is estimated that 68 million Americans have high blood pressure, which can cause stroke, heart attack, vision loss, kidney disease, sexual dysfunction, and heart or kidney failure.
It’s important to know your blood pressure numbers and to recognize lasting changes in those numbers.
Your blood pressure fluctuates constantly. Fleeting changes in your pressure are normal. Your blood pressure changes with physical activity and rest, temperature, as well as due to your mental and emotional stress level. But persistent, lasting increase or decrease in your blood pressure numbers—outside of normal limits—should be evaluated carefully.
Pressure in your blood vessels is created by your heart contracting and pumping blood through your arteries and veins, transporting oxygen and nutrients to your brain, muscles, organs, and throughout your body.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure makes your heart work harder, stressing your heart and circulatory system. When hypertension persists, it begins to damage internal organs. High blood pressure is not just about your heart.
High blood pressure is called “a silent killer” because there are no clear, definitive symptoms. The best way to know your blood pressure is to have it checked by a healthcare professional or you can confirm your blood pressure at retail spots like grocery stores or pharmacies. Headaches, nose bleeds, or a flushed face don’t mean that you have hypertension (high blood pressure).
Have your blood pressure taken when you are in similar physical, mental, and emotional states over several weeks so that you can determine your normal range. Then you will be able to recognize if your blood pressure rises and stays elevated.
You need to know two blood pressure numbers: 1) your own blood pressure range and 2) what numbers indicate danger.
Blood pressure is indicated by the higher pressure, when your heart contracts and pushes blood through your vessels, over the lower pressure, when your heart is relaxed. Pressure of 130/80 or higher indicates high blood pressure but if your pressure is 180/120 or higher, it’s time to call 911.
If you don’t know your normal blood pressure range, set a goal to learn your numbers by the end of this month. 1 out of 3 Americans have high blood pressure. If you are one, know that you can lower it!
The Most Important Key To Lower Your Blood Pressure
You can find many suggestions on lifestyle changes to lower your blood pressure such as:
- medication (some of which can also elevate blood pressure),
- lose weight,
- stop smoking, but
I think the primary and most important element of lowering your blood pressure is to manage your stress.
Life is full of choices, challenges, trials, and stresses. Stress can break you down or build you up. Are you ready to turn your stress into strength?
3 Ways to manage your stress:
Treatment and training through 4×4 Healing provides many individualized tools to educate, explore, equip, and empower you in resolving pain and stresses in your body, mind, heart, and spirit. Here are three to start:
B-M-W in this case is not a car, it’s a lifestyle. Breathe-Melt-Wiggle is a way to stop the fight-flight-fear adrenaline reaction to fear and stress. Remember that powerful emotions can block rational thought so the first thing to do is to recognize that you are stressed and practice this effective tool daily.
Take a deep breath.
Listen to your body. Is your breathing shallow and rapid? Take a slow, deep breath to fill up your lungs and expand your ribs.
Pay attention to the tension in your jaw, neck, and forehead. Are you frowning? Do you feel tension and pain in your head, neck, or shoulders? Are your shoulders climbing into your ears? Where is your tension area? Relax those tight areas as you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Slowly and evenly.
Relax your muscles.
Melt like butter. Relax each muscle group. First tighten your muscles and then let go completely. Start with your neck. Feel the tightness and–stick your chin out and raise your shoulders into your ears (poor posture). Feel the tension and position. Now, let’s correct this. Pull your chin gently back toward your neck, positioning your ear over your shoulder joint. Pull your shoulders gently down and back. Feel the tension release in your neck and upper shoulder girdle. You may feel a stretch in your neck and upper back. That’s good! Make this stretch and tension release a habit. Then work your way down your body through your muscle groups.
When you remember to melt, you release unnecessary tension that causes pain, hinders circulation, or robs you of energy, function, or sleep.
Wiggling is all about getting your body moving. Do some ankle circles, do the hula…even swaying gently while standing can help stave off the adrenaline and cortisol that comes from the fight-flight-freeze response.
If you’re somewhere public, don’t worry. Wiggle a little bit wherever you are. Even if it means just doing “happy feet” under your chair. Small wiggles in your hips or feet can be done anywhere.
If you’re breathing slowly and evenly, melting and wiggling, you’re able to practice this successful stress management technique and stop that tension and fight-flight-freeze response. It’s a wayto quiet your mind, emotions, and body!
This is a helpful process of seeing patterns and de-stressing by getting your thoughts and feelings out and on paper through writing and reflecting. . .
Write down those racing thoughts and what you are feeling. No one is grading this. Be honest with yourself. Collect your thoughts and worries and pen them on the page. The process of writing down your concerns helps to grab those haunting discomforts so you can deal with them effectively.
Recognize and replace problems with potential, lies with truth, and hurts with healing.
S-D-P (Stop-Drop-Pray) is a stress release method.
Who or what do you turn to when you are stressed or in crisis?
Do you hold worry, frustration, anger, and powerful emotions inside?
Do you spew them out on loved ones and those around you?
Are you holding worry, fear, anger, bitterness about things you can change and things you cannot change?
S-D-P (Stop-Drop-Pray) works in concert with journaling and with 4×4 Healing treatment, training, and tools to address and resolve deep internal pain and physical stress symptoms.
To use S-D-P, first recognize the messages that your body and mind are sending. Then stop. Stop the racing thoughts. Stop the worry whirl. Now drop. Drop what you’re doing or drop on your knees as a sign that you are relinquishing control to something bigger than you. Then pray. Open your heart to the One who made you and loves you. Tell Him your worries big and small. You may wish to imagine yourself physically handing your troubles over to God. See Him receive them from you. Thank Him for His constant, unconditional love.
You can’t imagine the relief, peace, and health you will enjoy when you learn to:
- forgive and be forgiven,
- release what you cannot control, and
- trust your Creator for strength, provision, direction, and results beyond your ability.
Seeing the lasting benefits takes time and practice but your consistent efforts will be so worth it when you are able to face challenges with effective tools that strengthen you, lower your blood pressure, and give you peace through problems.
Commit today to:
- Set a date by the end of the month to find out your blood pressure and talk to a healthcare professional if you have questions.
- Take your blood pressure periodically to determine your normal blood pressure range and to check for persistent elevation
- Practice the 3 initial stress management tools—B-M-W, Journaling, S-D-P—in daily life, especially when facing challenges, fears, worries, frustrations, pain, and problems to lower your blood pressure and improve overall health.
- Take care of your body. As you become more victorious over stress, it will be easier to exercise, lose weight, and make other healthy changes.
Benefits of Stress Management
Turning your stresses and your trials into triumphs enhances all aspects of your life and health. Beyond lowering your blood pressure, dealing positively with stress helps you lose weight, feel better when you exercise, and helps prevent disease, internal organ failure, depression, and physical pain. Function more fully, experience more joy and peace, age gracefully, stay independent and off medications by improving your stress management skills.
Be your best and be blessed!