Everyone feels stress from time to time. Trouble at home, at work, or on the road. Sometimes, you’re not unlike a cartoon character with steam shooting out of your ears.
A little stress—sometimes called acute or short-term stress—is healthy. It helps you to focus, finish tasks, and achieve goals. Stress becomes a problem, however, when it becomes long-term or chronic.
Chronic stress can have longlasting effects on your body. In this case, your body is exposed to stress hormones, such as cortisol, for a prolonged time. This can put you at a higher risk of health problems.
- Weight gain
- Sleep issues
- Digestive problems
But also high blood pressure and heart disease.
Research doesn’t yet know how exactly stress contributes to heart disease. But one thing is sure; managing your stress in a healthy way helps to reduce your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
So. How do you deal with stress in a healthy way?
Exercise releases endorphins in your body. Think of this as your happiness hormone. Basically, endorphins fight the evil cortisol in your body!
Regular physical activity helps you to calm down and improve your mood. And you don’t even need to go to the gym to release stress. Any at-home exercise that elevates your heart rate will do just fine.
Get those Zzzs
Try to sleep at least 7 to 9 hours a night. Sounds like a lot? Try to reduce screentime before going to sleep. It will make a difference! Waking up and going to be at the same time every day might also help.
Sleep doesn’t just recharge your body. It also helps to keep your immune system strong. During sleep, information is processed in the brain and your brain is cleaned of toxins.
Laugh out loud
Like exercise, laughter releases stress-hormone-fighting endorphins. Laughter takes your focus away from negative emotions and helps to strengthen your social bonds with friends and family.
By reducing your stress hormones, laughter helps to protect you against high blood pressure and heart disease.
Learning to manage stress and manage your blood pressure takes time. Make it easier for yourself by adding your stress management to your daily routine. It will become a habit in no time!
If you are struggling with your blood pressure despite managing your stress, it can be of tremendous help to measure your BP regularly. And just keep an eye on your health.