**Stress and High Blood Pressure
- Stressful situations can cause your blood pressure to spike temporarily
-Your reaction to stress may affect your blood pressure
-Your body produces a surge of hormones when you're in a stressful situation.
-These hormones temporarily increase your blood pressure by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow.
-There's no proof that stress by itself causes long-term high blood pressure.
-But reacting to stress in unhealthy ways can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
-Increases in blood pressure related to stress can be dramatic.
-But when your stress goes away, your blood pressure returns to normal.
-However, even frequent, temporary spikes in blood pressure can damage your blood vessels, heart and kidneys in a way similar to long-term high blood pressure.
**Types of Stress
-Acute Stress: Short-term stress that often accompanies fleeting moments of panic or dread. Examples include realizing you’ve missed a deadline for work or school, or nearly being involved in a car accident.
-Episodic Acute Stress: An accumulation of individual moments of acute stress. People who feel burdened by day-to-day struggles may attempt to alleviate their frustrations through unhealthy behaviours like overeating or binge drinking.
-Chronic Stress: Many factors can contribute to chronic stress, including poverty, abuse, and trauma. People tend to internalize these painful experiences, and over time this can wear down the mind and lead to feelings of hopelessness.
**The Relaxation Response
-The relaxation response is the rest and digest part of the nervous system.
-It basically undoes the work of the stress response after a stressful situation.
-The relaxation response happens when we feel safe, nurtured or taken care of.
-It can block effects from your body’s response to stress.
-This is good for your mental and physical health.
**Effective Relaxation Techniques
-The most effective relaxation technique is one that works for you!
-Different relaxation techniques will help different people at different times.
-What works for you this week, may not work next week.
-But it might work again next month.
-Our needs vary and so it’s important to have a toolbox of relaxation techniques to help you on a regular basis.