Relationships and Blood Pressure
I am learning the value of the connections between relationships and blood pressure over the last few days. There are many factors about our relationships that play a part in our overall health. I’m not sure if there has been any official studies on how our relationships increase or decrease our systolic and diastolic numbers, but I’m convinced there is a connection.
First, let me say that my lovely wife and I have not had any abnormal arguments or disagreements. I state this to dispel any theories that I am referring to our relationship as the source of my high blood pressure issue. Of course, like all couples, we have our moments, but in case the in-laws stumble upon my blog, let me assure you we are very much in love with one another and things are okay in our relationship.
I want to get to the relationship issue that brings about such symptoms as high blood pressure. While there may not be any real studies about specific relationships causing blood pressure to soar, there are many studies that relate “stress” as a major contributor to this issue. That is what I want to touch upon in this blog post; How many times do our relationships contribute to our high blood pressure, or other health-related issues? I think more than we could imagine!
This past week after a very stressful day at work, Melissa noticed that my face seemed flushed and requested that I stop by to get my blood pressure checked. Result was 149/99, which is not the worst it could be, but not to be ignored for sure! I, as in most cases, brushed it off as the result of a stressful day, which was not a lie. This did lead me to take an inventory of exactly what was causing me so much stress.
After pondering the reality of the situation (and cutting back on my sodium and caffeine intake), I began to realize that maybe I had let my worry over uncontrollable circumstances of my job and life allow me to get stressed out. There are so many things going on in so many different areas right now, it is just hard for my mind to keep up with it all…then my wife reminded me that I am not the one who is solely responsible for everything at my place of employment, or even in my life. In case you don’t know me, I tend to take on responsibility for many things…okay, okay, too many things. I have issues with saying “no” to others’ requests. Partly because I want to do a good job, and partly because of an unhealthy fear of failure. (the underlying reasons for this feeling may be discussed at another time)
Once I realized that my relationship (how I related) to my job and life responsibilities was adversely effecting my health, I knew I had to step back and re-think my mindset on this whole thing. I had to remind myself that the worst thing that can happen to me at this job is to be fired. That is something, while it would not be my desire, I could overcome, if needed.
Sometimes we simply have to step back, take a deep-breath and look at the reality of a situation without all the emotional “junk” in order to see the real issue. I had allowed myself to become too busy. I think it is a symptom that plagues many of us today: Busyness. Most of us no longer take time to smell the roses (or coffee, or whatever you like to smell) anymore. We are too busy chasing the illusive American Dream. I’m not sure about you, but I never dreamed of this useless, stressful busyness controlling my life and making my blood pressure rise.
I encourage you to read the John Eldredge book, “Walking With God“ and on page 115 he talks about “The Spirit of the Age”. He mentions that “purposeful distraction” that our lives of “not living, but getting things done” provides. We are so distracted by the things that don’t really matter in terms of eternity, that we sell ourselves out and ignore the things that really do matter: RELATIONSHIPS.
The first relationship that suffers is the one with the Jesus Christ, then our closest family/friends…then up goes the blood pressure! Take a moment today and remember what is really important, then start spending more time and energy on those things instead of the things that are really not important.
Blessings and Low Blood Pressure to all!
(by the way, my blood pressure returned to normal levels last night…let’s hope I can remain unstressed and keep it there!) 120/79 YEAH!