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3 Stress Relief Games You Can Play to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Aug 26, 2008
Chronic hypertension (high blood pressure) is a leading indicator for heart attacks, strokes and reduced life span. It has several causes, ranging from physiological to situational and lifestyle driven. There are many treatments for this condition. Stress relief games are excellent in providing an effective and side effect-free alternative.

Most of the medical treatments for high blood pressure focus on the physiological symptoms, or some of the generalized physiological triggers in the body, like higher cholesterol levels. (High cholesterol levels build up plaques on the inner walls of arteries, and much the same way that constricting a garden hose makes the pressure higher, they do the same to your arterial system.) Statin reducers, and an entire gamut of drugs designed to artificially lower your blood pressure by blocking hormone receptors, receptors that cause your arteries to squeeze harder, are making big pharmaceutical companies a lot of money.

However, there are other factors involved that are not only directly under your control, but are less expensive as well. It is important to understand that temporary elevation of blood pressure is a survival mechanism - it ensures that highly oxygenated blood reaches your cells and muscles when you're in a flight or fight situation. What happens is that our modern society (and our ability to internalize anything that causes stress) causes that system to "fire" when a deadline approaches, or when a doctor is about to prick you with a needle. As far as your limbic system is concerned, it is convinced that there's something that's about to eat you lurking in the office, not a manager who needs that report on his desk before you go home. The limbic system is unable to differentiate genuine life-threatening harm from regular nuances of our daily lives.

And it's not only deadlines that create stress. Stress causes a cumulative strain on the body. Lots of people accrue stress the way a small child accrues marbles. For certain personality types, without a lot of stress, they get nothing done (and they're often hooked on the rush of getting through the "emergency run").

So, how do we get rid of stress? We recommend taking up some games. Here are some with proven therapeutic influences on the stress hormone systems.

Handball - this game causes you to move the entire body, and it utilizes the cortisone hormones of stress to "flush the system clear". This is a good "stress burner" - similar sports include racquetball and tennis. These sports required total body motion, depth perception and spatial awareness. They simulate the "body kinematics" of being a Paleolithic hunter, and as such, trigger many of the same release mechanisms.

Meditation and Yoga - whether you're doing deep diaphragmatic breathing, or reaching your inner core, both of these are good exercise paths for relieving stress if you don't have the time for an intensive stress-burning session at the gym. They also have the benefit of being something you can do when you feel stress onset.

Singing and Walking - singing is similar to yoga; to sing well, you sing from the diaphragm, which causes elevated blood oxygen levels. Also try to take time out of your day to walk a mile. These methods are good for clearing the head and the stress hormones from your system.

All of these will lead you be happier and more productive in your day to day life; indeed, there's a growing body of evidence the best time of the day for thinking or tackling difficult problems is 30 minutes after you've caught your breath from mild exercise or a heavy walk. There may be something to the body's natural tendency to pace when thinking.

And, by reducing their stress, they may even make you live longer! Keep that in mind when utilizing these stress relief games.
About the Author
Jan Oliver is an academic, writer and researcher in natural health. See more of her work at http://www.control-your-blood-pressure.com/. Discover genuine natural ways to lower blood pressure immediately! Click Here to get your free report on dealing with blood pressure.
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