This blog was spurred on by an experience I had recently. I wanted to sign up to the local gym where they sensibly checked my blood pressure first, being relatively fit and healthy I thought nothing of this, but when it read 140/110, I was slightly horrified, as well as not allowed into the gym!!
I had absolutely no reason to think I had high blood pressure which was the scariest thing in my mind, this got me thinking about all the unknowing people out there who may not notice their blood pressure has been high for months or years, until the damage is done.
So, following this, I revised the classic factors such as weight, diet, smoking or drinking heavily, exercise, but nothing fitted, so what was it???
It seems it was my non-stop racing mind and underlying stress/adrenalin levels- this is not the kind of stress that leaves you red faced and angry- I’m talking about the silent stress we don’t even realise that’s happening until we take the time to stop a moment and ‘read into ourselves’.
When I take time to stop for a minute, tune into my thoughts and actions, feel what my body is doing at that moment, I come to realise that my calm looking exterior is a cloak masking the high blood pressure volcano that’s been building up over the last few weeks!
Here are some of the things I tried and tested with great results to reduce my blood pressure concerning stress, anxiety and a racing mind;
- When I noticed that my breathing was rapid and shallow for no apparent reason, I changed my breathing pattern to breathe in for a count of 4 seconds and out for 8, this reduces your pulse rate and helps decrease blood pressure as well as tricking the mind to thinking you’re relaxed, so that you actually become more relaxed! (feel your pulse while doing this – you can feel it slow down!)
- Downloading the ‘head space’ app to listen to a guided meditation/mindfulness exercise to listen to for just 10 minutes a day, starts you off in the right way for the day
- Freely frantic? Just feel the sensation of your feet on the ground, or bottom on the chair, take a breath in whichever way feels easy, get yourself together and from here take your time with everything, make everything you do easy on yourself- you are one person and you got to look after yourself
- To get perspective I would normally engage in some exercise or just getting outside to look at the sky, the beach or anything, listen to whatever is going on- this helped me ‘reset’ and relax.
- Sleep hygiene; a good nights’ sleep regularly does make the difference to stress levels and blood pressure so make this a priority
- Have some osteopathic treatment to calm and relax, improve diaphragm breathing and posture to take pressure away from the chest and kidneys, to gain advice and information about what more you can do.
For further info, see the links below for the common causes of high BP, what you can do and the dangers of letting it go undiagnosed.