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Music is food for the soul. Music has the ability to heal and sooth. Music is inherent to all cultures and mothers and fathers all over the world sing to their children in a joyous calming bond of family and culture.
Music has played an important role in my life. I was an anxious kid, sometimes very quiet and introverted and sometimes I found it very hard to focus. I did well in school but it was hard for me – I liked recess because I could run around, the physical exertion would burn off some of my excess energy and anxiety.
Things changed for the better when I was enrolled in “Music Appreciation” class. A whole new world opened up for me as I was exposed to some of the classics. I found that the music calmed me down and made it easier for me to focus. At the age of eleven I saved my nickels and dimes and purchased my first Bach album – little did I know that I was really “self-medicating” with music.
My love for music continues to this day and I’m always on the lookout for innovative artists with music that “speaks to me” and helps me through the day.
I was pleasantly surprised when I came across the music of the Conti brothers, Chris and Tom. Not only is their music “transformative” but it’s geared specifically for melting away the stress and anxiety of the day. I personally listen to their music while doing my work and also while taking much needed breaks throughout the day. I find that not only can I focus better, but I don’t feel tired and drained even after prolonged work sessions.
I highly recommend the music of the Conti brothers, especially for stress and relaxation. My favorite album is “Sound Therapy for the Senses” but you’ll find all of their music is equally appealing. They have lots of free listening samples and you may easily purchase single songs or an entire album. Be sure to pay them a visit at: www.contimusic.com
White Coat Hypertension – Causes and Cures
You may definitely count me in as a card-carrying member of the White Coat Hypertension club. Statistics say that over 30% of the population have much higher blood pressure readings in a clinical environment. If you ask me, I think the percentage of the anxious, blood pressure-phobic club is closer to 50% (from the informal survey I’ve conducted). So why does this happen? And is there anything you can do about it?
What causes White Coat Hypertension?
I believe the main factor in white coat hypertension is good old fashioned anxiety. Anxiety is all about control issues and the overwhelming feeling of being judged. Because our blood pressure is an indicator of our overall health, there’s always that nagging feeling that we’re not doing enough to stay healthy. The doctor’s office is also a place that we get stuck with needles, hooked up to test equipment, poked and probed, etc. all the while naked and exposed – talk about feeling anxious! No wonder our blood pressure is high!
Just the fear of testing high will drive our blood pressure through the roof! Once we test high, our doctor is obligated to treat our high blood pressure and most of the time that’s with medication that we really don’t want. To many of us, there’s an overwhelming feeling of failure and a feeling that we can’t control our bodies and our own life. I know this may sound a little melodramatic, but if you have white coat hypertension, or high blood pressure, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
If our blood pressure test is high we have to be monitored, maybe go on medication, and we then have to go to the doctor’s office more often – exactly where we DON’T want to be in the first place! We’re afraid the doctor is going to tell us we need to exercise more, stay away from those brownies and bacon, and basically take away all the joy from our lives. Let’s face it, after you get to a certain age, it’s all about those little treats we give ourselves and high blood pressure would definitely ruin that. On the other hand, we may have made some adjustments, sacrificed some of our guilty pleasures and we STILL are testing way too high in the Doctor’s office – it’s just not fair!
What can you do about White Coat Hypertension?
Just breathe. That’s right, breathing correctly and using some visualization exercises can help tremendously. First, I always let my doctor know that I’m very anxious – just the simple fact of admitting my fear helps in reducing my anxiety. Next I’ll take a couple of deep breaths and try to exhale slowly. I know this may be hard to do when you’re nervous but it really does help. It’s also really helpful if you visualize a scene in your mind’s-eye that brings you peace or contentment, something that takes you away from the anxious environment of the exam room. It’s all about disconnecting your anxious feelings from the process of having your blood pressure taken.
It’s really important to monitor your blood pressure at home on a consistent basis. Print out our free blood pressure chart and use it to record your blood pressure readings. Bring this chart with you and give it to your doctor to include with your medical records. Chances are that your doctor will see that your readings at home are much more normal and that you are keeping on top of your health and blood pressure. The readings also give your doctor a little leeway in treatment options because the printed proof shows that you are actively engaged in keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level.
That’s right – paced moderate deep breathing exercises have been clinically shown to reduce high blood pressure. Use our free breathing exercises to safely lower your high blood pressure and reduce your anxiety. If you’re already on high blood pressure medication the breathing exercises may help you to reduce the amount of medication you are taking. Always remember to talk to your doctor first before reducing your medication, it is VERY important to NEVER stop taking your high blood pressure meds without your doctor’s approval.
Get a good blood pressure monitor
If you don’t already have a good monitor, please get one and use it on a regular basis. The monitors with the traditional cuff seem to be the most accurate, I’ve never had good luck with the monitors that fit around the wrist. It’s not necessary to get a really expensive model, I think my self-inflating cuff model was around $65 or so. The added benefit of taking your pressure on a regular basis is that it also desensitizes you a bit from the process and that will lead you to lower pressures in the doctor’s office.
In closing I’d like to point out that I’m not a doctor and my intention is not to give out medical advice, the above tips are just from my own experience dealing with White Coat Hypertension and I hope you find them helpful. If you have any tips you’d like to share, please feel free to comment. Take care, Joel
Hi Everyone! It was time to dust off the old Lowermypressure.com website and do a complete redesign! This new design has the flexibility to add many new exciting features (Including this blog) and the ability to offer our wonderful high blood pressure program, Pressure Perfect – absolutely free to everyone across the globe! It will take many weeks to put all of our great content back on the site, so please be patient. Please feel free to subscribe to our blog!
In the coming months I’ll be blogging about subjects that are near and dear to my heart – Stress, anxiety and high blood pressure. I’d be honored if you’d sign up for my blog! Here’s some highlights of subjects that I’ll be blogging about:
Foods that lower blood pressure
Herbs that lower blood pressure
Anxiety and high blood pressure spikes
The hidden sodium in canned goods
The best home blood pressure monitors
What is normal blood pressure?
Signs of high blood pressure
Natural reduction of anxiety
Panic attack tips
That’s just a sample. If you have a particular interest as it pertains to Stress, anxiety of high blood pressure please feel free to contact me and I’ll put it on my list!