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Chronic stress

Could a High Stress Lifestyle be Raising Your Blood Pressure?

Monday, February 04, 2008 by: Frank Mangano
Tags: chronic stress, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) This description of a typical high-stress lifestyle may sound familiar to you...very familiar. You get up in the morning, and you're running late, so the stress begins before you're even done eating breakfast. You rush off to work, stressing about whether you'll make it to work on time and then stressing about whether you'll get a speeding ticket on the way and end up really late. When you get to work, you're stressing about your job performance, your demanding boss and whether you'll get that promotion. When you're not stressing about your performance at work, you're stressing about your son's performance in school. As you're stressing over the traffic on the way home, you're stressing about your upcoming vacation plans. Finally, you're on your way out the door for vacation, but now you've got airport and flying stress!

It seems like you can't avoid it. Out of the frying pan into the fire, from one stress to the next you go. It may even seem amusing on the surface, all these little things stressing us out, but it's not a laughing matter at all. Getting control over the stress in your life can be a matter of life and death. If you're perpetually stressed and you don't learn what to do about it, you could become a prime candidate for high blood pressure - the silent killer.

Medical experts estimate that 90 percent of Americans will have high blood pressure at some point in their lives. With staggering statistics like this on their minds, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh embarked on a 13-year study to see if early-life stressors impacted someone's future blood pressure levels.

Following more than 5,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 30, the researchers studied the subjects' cardiovascular activity through a series of rather unusual tests, including submersing the subject's hands in ice cold water and having them engage in stressful video games.

After taking each person's blood pressure, they hypothesized that participants with the highest blood pressure readings would be precursors to high readings later in life. Thirteen years later, when the test results were re-evaluated, you guessed it - a significant number of those same participants had become hypertensive. The study was published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

So how do you go about minimizing your tendency towards getting stressed? Is it even possible in today's fast paced, information-overloaded and hectic society? The answer is yes and you're about to learn how.

First, I'd like you to consider the fact that I'm not suggesting that you stop everything you're doing. You don't necessarily have to slow down, you simply need to calm down. With that thought in mind, here are some action steps you can take starting today, which will make a big difference in keeping your stress levels under control, and minimizing the negative effects of stress that cannot be avoided.

1) Exercise - Besides being good for your body, exercise is good for your brain. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which make us feel happy, and at ease. It also helps to increase the flow of blood in the brain, ridding the mind of waste products that develop in the course of stressful times when mental processes are in excess. Furthermore, the more fit you are, the more you're able to cope with events in life that bring about stress.

I recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of walking most days of the week, gradually increasing to 45 minutes to 1 hour most days of the week. A study published in the December 2005 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise concluded that walking on a treadmill for just 30 minutes can boost your mood and feeling of well-being.

2) Eat Regularly and Healthfully - Skipping meals is probably the worst thing you can do for your health. Low blood sugar levels that result from skipping meals not only slow down the metabolism but slow down virtually every system in the body. This in turn affects your ability to think clearly and contributes to stressful feelings because of hunger pangs.

Have a healthy breakfast for starters. One of my favorites is one cup of slow cooked oats (not instant oatmeal which is loaded with preservatives) with banana, blueberries and a tablespoon of lecithin granules (very effective for lowering cholesterol). Avoid processed foods such as bacon and sausage, which are high in fat and lack fiber and nutrients. You should also eat small portions throughout the day. This will keep your metabolic fire burning hot and keep your blood sugar levels stable.

3) Learn to Meditate - Research indicates that meditating for less than 20 minutes a day is extremely conducive to mental health and minimizing stress levels. The key is finding the time to meditate and then sticking with it once you start. A study published in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine concluded that a short program in "mindfulness meditation" produced lasting positive changes in both the brain and the function of the immune system. The University of Wisconsin-Madison research team found that meditation, long promoted as a technique to reduce anxiety and stress, might produce important biological effects that improve a person's resiliency.

There are many ways to meditate, but start by finding a serene location, one where there are little to no distractions, where you can separate yourself from the world. Then, just like you see on television or in any other place that illustrates meditation, sit upright with your legs crossed and take long, deep breaths in and out. Focus as much as you can on your breathing and try to not let your mind wander. Be an observer; focus on your inner self.

One of the reasons meditation is so effective at reducing stress is because of the power of breathing properly. Go ahead and try it - right now. Take a long, deep breath through your nose...hold it, hold it...Then slowly let it out through your mouth, and say to your self, silently, 'relax'. Even with that one single breath, you felt a wave of relaxation pass through your body as tension drained away. Now imagine what a session of twenty, fifteen, ten or even just five minutes per day, whatever you can manage, of deep breathing meditation or guided relaxation will do for you.

The benefits of meditation are remarkable and this is not just some mystical Eastern "new age" prattle - the scientific research now proves it. One way to easily get started with meditation is with hypnosis audios. Did you know that hypnosis sessions begin by using deep breathing to induce a state of deep, deep relaxation? In fact, when you "let go" and let a hypnotherapist guide you through it, whether in person, or more conveniently by listening to audio, you automatically release tension, reduce stress and reach a deeper state of profound relaxation than any other way.

About the author

Frank Mangano is an American author, health advocate, researcher and entrepreneur in the field of alternative health. He is perhaps best known for his book "The Blood Pressure Miracle," which continues to be an Amazon best selling book. Additionally, he has published numerous reports and a considerable amount of articles pertaining to natural health.
Mangano is the publisher of Natural Health On The Web, which offers readers free and valuable information on alternative remedies. To learn more visit:

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