Can grief affect blood pressure? Absolutely. Grief involves many feelings—loss, sadness, anxiety and the fear of being alone. You may even feel as if your very survival is threatened. Predictably, your body responds to these feelings by activating its fight-or-flight response.
Stress and Managing High Blood Pressure
It may seem unusual to think of grief as a fight-or-flight situation, but it’s important to remember that all stress is the same as far as your body is concerned. When you feel it—no matter what its form, whether anxiety, depression or fear—your sympathetic nervous system becomes activated. It floods your blood with cortisol and adrenaline. These stress hormones accelerate your heartbeat, dilate your pupils and bronchi in preparation for the challenge, and cause your arteries to become constricted, which makes your blood pressure soar. And your blood pressure can remain high if the stress is accompanied by persistent grief.
Release Your Grief to Manage High Blood Pressure
Based on my professional experience and information gleaned from medical studies, I believe a therapeutic approach to managing grief-related high blood pressure must, first and foremost, include some way to release emotion. Therefore, I encourage grieving patients to do the following:
- Find a safe place to let their emotions out
- Fully experience their loss
- Cry when they feel like crying
There’s no doubt that prolonged grief can cause high blood pressure and that it can exact a heavy toll if not addressed. If you’re struggling with this kind of situation, the best option is to work with a supportive healer who is familiar with emotional release work. Often, that kind of mind-body approach is what it takes to lower blood pressure to a healthier level. Additionally, seek out people who can help you get past your grief—friends, family, clergy or a trained therapist. Finally, and most importantly, trust that you will indeed get through it.
More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Managing High Blood Pressure Naturally
What’s the best diet for high blood pressure? Learn how the Pan-Asian Mediterranean (PAM) approach to eating can help lower your blood pressure.
Which nutritional supplements will help lower your blood pressure? Find out about the core supplements I recommend for everyone with cardiovascular concerns, plus some additional ones specifically for those with high blood pressure.