Blood Pressure on an Elevator

So, after two weeks of dieting, I have another food allergy!

You wouldn’t think that I would be excited about that. But it can really give you a new outlook on life when you realize how much stuff you can’t eat anymore. It makes you appreciate the stuff you can eat. (Okay, when I’m not poring over nutrition labels, praying I don’t see the one ingredient I am looking for and weeping over empty pizza boxes without being allowed to taste their contents.) Then, I am pretty excited about my new food allergy.

What I’m upset about is my blood pressure is still high. Like really high. And this can come from a variety of influences, obviously. Stress being one of the largest. So, I’ve been trying yoga, sniffing lavender, and counting breaths, but to no avail. It is still rather elevated, which is making me feel rather down in the dumps. I can’t seem to find a way to calm down enough to see some low numbers. Even talking about it now, I’m stressed.

And don’t get me started on that blood pressure cuff. Really, who invented that? Oh, I know, let’s make people really uncomfortable so that we can tell if they have a healthy stress level! I can’t stand that tightening feeling, or the sudden rush of all my blood through my arm so loud I can almost hear it as well as feel it. The act of taking my blood pressure makes me stressed out, which, as you might have guessed, does not give me good results.

So, why does this matter to you (other than documenting a case of some severe TMI from me)? It’s because there is a really important lesson wrapped up in this, coursing through the veins of the matter, if you will.

It’s the simple idea that if you over think something, it becomes harder to attain. I mean, have you ever tried to “calm yourself” down while sitting in that doctor’s office? What about trying to “slow your heart rate” when the nurse is squeezing that little torture device that makes the cuff constrict on your arm? It’s really hard, isn’t it? Actually, it’s damn near impossible. There is a reason for that (and maybe even an app for it, too).

It’s because you are focusing on what makes you stressed, when you should be letting everything go. Simple, right? So, you just have to think about something else…except that’s hard, too. Really, it’s the moment that we ask “What? Me? Angry?” when there is a vein throbbing in our forehead. These are the moments we all need to pay attention to more. The times when our emotions don’t really match our thoughts.

In the end, we need to stop forcing it (whatever “it” may be in your life) and start letting some things come naturally.

So, if you want to relax, if you want to calm down, if you want to be at peace, then put down the lavender and listen. But don’t listen to me. Listen to yourself and your own needs. After all, unlike your age, your blood pressure isn’t just a number. It’s a greater expression of the number of breaths you may be able to take in this life, so every single. one. counts.

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