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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Keep It Down - Your Blood Pressure, That Is

My muse
We probably remember as children hearing our parents or grandparents saying to one another, "Be careful, watch your blood pressure." Elevated blood pressure comes from many things--anger being only one of many. Plenty of genetic factors come into play, biological changes in our bodies, outside factors such as being stuck in traffic with someone behind you blowing the horn, too much salt in our diets. . . etc.

Here are few tips for what you can do to help keep your blood pressure in check, courtesy whole living magazine.

1) (My favorite) Hang out with your animal pal(s). When we give a cat or a dog or any other creature (including human, for that matter) a hug, lots of nice things happen. One of them is that we "slow down." Try standing for a minute or so while holding a purring cat. You'll find yourself slowing down to match their breathing pattern.

2) Enjoy some berries. As little as a cup of raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries can cut your chance of developing hypertension by 8%. Now if that isn't a pleasant prescription, we don't know what is! This is according to a study of 156,000 people, so we shouldn't take the results lightly.

3) Watch a silly (even stupid) show on TV or video. Now there's a prescription for you! But it makes sense. The key here is not the idiocy of what you're watching, but it's your laughter. "A few good belly laughs can improve blood-vessel function," according to the whole living article.

4) Be loving. Hold hands with your partner. Give each other hugs (just like with your animal pals). Do this especially after completing a stressful task, like a long, hard day at the office, or figuring out your taxes. Daily affection is just plain good for us!

5) Listen to other people's stories. The idea here is that when you listen to someone else talk about their blood pressure issues and how they deal with them, your blood pressure tends to lower. It may have something to do with what is essentially a calming effect from knowing that other people have the same problem and that they too are finding ways to deal with it.

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