16. Stress gives you high blood pressure

It’s true that stressful situations can cause a temporary spike in blood pressure. If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, reducing your stress levels can help lower your blood pressure. However, researchers have been unable to conclusively determine whether stress can cause long-term high blood pressure.

When you’re under severe stress, your body produces hormones that temporarily increase your blood pressure by causing your blood vessels to narrow and your heart to beat faster. However, there’s no proof that stress itself causes high blood pressure in the long term. It’s possible that behaviors associated with stress, such as overeating, binge drinking, and not getting enough sleep, can contribute to high blood pressure. Once a stressor disappears, your blood pressure returns to normal. However, if temporary spikes in blood pressure occur often enough, they can damage the kidneys, heart, and blood vessels.

Although there’s no proof stress causes long-term high blood pressure on its own, stress can make existing high blood pressure even worse. Stress has a range of negative health effects, so it’s important to manage your stress levels through exercise, yoga or meditation, getting plenty of sleep, simplifying your schedule, and learning strategies for coping with stress.