Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally: Step 9
This page is a companion to Step 9 of our book – Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide – out now for just $27 (about £17)
Dealing with Stress
There are myriad on-line resources for helping you deal with stress, so search around. Here are a few articles to start you off:
HOW TO RELAX: TECHNIQUES TO REDUCE STRESS
Resperate slow breathing aid
Slow breathing exercise audio tracks available for download
There are many resources on-line for meditation too – tips on meditation, guided meditations – and for a range of different approaches to meditation. It won’t be hard to find one that suits you.
Guided meditation audio tracks are available to play here:
Guided meditations by Sam Harris – a short one (9 mins) and a longer one
Buddhanet – Guided meditation – scroll down for ‘Guided Meditations with Malcolm Huxter’ – simple, down-to-earth meditations with various different slants, from simple body-focused or breath-focused meditations to ones specifically designed to calm difficult emotions and stress – you’re sure to find one that suits you.
More also on: Fragrant heart – Guided meditation for stress relief
There’s also a meditation app – with all kinds of guided meditations for different circumstances and situations. Although we haven’t tried it ourselves yet, it has been highly recommended by others: Headspace
Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Body Scanning
Here are some links for audio guides to progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). Or just search online, have a wee listen and go for the one whose voice you like best.
If you like the Malcolm Huxter one, click here for more guided meditations from him (“body scan” is a simpler version of PMR):
Buddhanet – Guided meditation – scroll down for ‘Guided Meditations with Malcolm Huxter’
Overview of different types of yoga:
Verywell.com – yoga types
Yoga resources, including videos, online classes, articles:
Have a Laugh
A bit about laughter therapy:
Laughter therapy – Guardian article
Laughter Online University – free laughter resources
Laughter Yoga International
Be Well Rested
Good tips on effective ways to take and time breaks:
This is a great article on when, why and how to take breaks at work:
Wikihow – Take breaks at work
Some good stretches you can do in the office or at home:
Mayo Clinic – stretches
A fantastic poster you can print out or look at to remind you of ’50 ways to take a break’:
Take a break poster!
Have a nap!
More and more research is now showing that taking a daily midday nap is linked with lower blood pressure and better heart health. Napping for up to an hour a day seems to be best, but even if you can’t manage a nap every day, taking a nap even occasionally may help.
Read more here: how a nap can lower your blood pressure
Detailed and comprehensive tips on getting a good night’s sleep:
Mercola.com – Secrets to a good night’s sleep
Other things which reduce stress
Think about how you think
There are a wealth of self-help resources online with psychological tips and guidance on dealing with stress, as well as information on finding a psychologist or therapist if you think you could benefit from more one-on-one advice or support.
Below is information on a few tried and tested approaches which have been successfully used to reduce stress, including Cognitive Behavour Therapy and Mindfulness approaches to stress reduction.
This free e-book may also be a good starting point. It’s a 17 page report which identifies 7 ways of thinking and acting that make us likely to feel stressed, then goes on to suggest ways to overcome these stress-inducing approaches and take a more relaxing attitude towards yourself, life and living.
Just click here to download it for free: 7 Mistakes that Lead to Stress
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
Patient.co.uk – about CBT
‘Mood gym’ is an online interactive program created by the Australian National University to help you identify and understand the way you perceive and react to situations. It’s designed to help those suffering from stress, anxiety and/or depression, but will be useful for anyone wanting to gain more insight into the workings of their mind – and particularly, how our unconscious assumptions affect our perceptions and thus our behaviour – and how these can be changed!
You have to set up an account to use it but don’t have to provide any personal information (not even your real name). It’s based on the principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and is interesting and easy to use – and they have 750, 000 users so far, so it’s pretty popular.
CBT practitioners and services:
Academy of CT
US and Canada:
Mindfulness approaches to stress reduction
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is similar to CBT in some ways but draws from mindfulness approaches in focusing more on accepting our difficult experiences, emotions and reactions rather than changing them – based on the sense that it’s lack of acceptance of our experiences and ourselves that can be at the root of a lot of our stress.
This article is quite in-depth, but does have good summaries of the main elements of ACT:
Psychology Today – ACT
If you’re interested in the basics of ACT, this book could be useful:
ACT Made Simple – Amazon.com
A quick pep talk!
For a quick mood boost, you could always try this – an ‘instant peptalk’ app !
It’s from a website for ‘self help for people who wouldn’t be caught dead doing self-help’ and is a free app you can download to a smartphone or tablet which gives you an ‘instant peptalk’ or motivating poster. Could be worth a try!
Eating (and drinking) well
This is a complex issue and many sources online give conflicting advice. The main elements of the debate are summarised in the Step 9 Appendix, but here are a few more resources so you can investigate further yourself.
Columbia University (US) – Go Ask Alice – an informal and balanced overview of the interactions between serotonin levels, food and how we feel
WebMD – Food, Mood and Serotonin – a brief summary of food, mood and serotonin
Psychology Today – Carbohydrates and Serotonin – thorough explanation of how food affects serotonin production, following with advice on how this affects weight gain and loss
Mark’s Daily Apple – serotonin boosters – one man’s take on foods and activities which boost your mood
If there are other websites, resources or products you’ve found useful and you think would be useful to others, please email them to us and we’ll include them:
NOTE: We’ve supplied Amazon links to those products that may be a little trickier to find, as Amazon is popular and convenient to use. However, Amazon aren’t known to be the most ethical company (we do not endorse them ourselves) so we recommend buying your healthy products in your local shops if you can!