In stressful situations, your body releases hormones like epinephrine that cause blood pressure to rise and heart rate to accelerate. Whether chronic stress contributes to hypertension is less clear.

Still, reducing stress may help you follow other lifestyle recommendations and maintain other healthy habits. Stress reduction techniques include

  • exercising regularly
  • practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, guided imagery or meditation
  • lightening your work or personal schedule
  • having a strong network of friends and family

Some activities that people often think should lower stress—for example, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking—actually increase blood pressure.

Publication Review By: Lawrence Appel, M.D., and Rafael H. Llinas, M.D.

Published: 15 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 15 Jul 2013