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Does family raise your blood pressure?

Recently I had a health scare when my blood pressure shot up over 200 with no real warning. After a few trips to the emergency room and a new group of medicines, I am happy to report that I am back on track.

Once I returned to my work, speculation began about how to prevent a reoccurrence. Suggestions ranged from dietary changes to lying in bed on my left side.

One well-meaning suggestion was that I reduce my “Grandma Duties.” The theory was that if I reduce time with my family, I will not be overscheduled and consequently stressed.

So, is family really something that raises my blood pressure? Do I need to clip my Grandma wings?

I don’t think so. In fact, I think my Grandma duties actually lower my stress. I think they also helped speed my recovery. I will explain:

My hood

I am fortunate to have all my children and grandchildren living within 5 miles of my home. This means whenever I want a friendly face or a cuddle they are just minutes away.

Sure I "babysit" quite a bit - I love the pay that comes with that - all the kisses I can grab. (kisses are not always offered after a certain age).

I matter to someone

When I looked at the faces of my grown kids when I was in the emergency room, I saw more clearly than words can express just how important I was to them.

Feeling so connected to family warms my heart – and I am certain it lowers my blood pressure.

Humor is the best medicine

Laughter has been proven to decrease stress hormones and strengthen your immune system. A good laugh has been shown to relax your whole body, leaving muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. 

Plus, how can you be stressed when your grandson tells you he was in the basement at daycare because they had a Tomato Drill?

I am needed

On the night before I became a grandma for the first time I remember thinking my grown child won’t need a Mom anymore.

It sounds ridiculous now – because I know how important all of us are to each other. But at the time, it was a real fear. I now understand that Grandmas are needed in a different way. 

There is not one "magic pill" that will keep blood pressure under control

Instead, there are eight different types of medication – each working in a different way. In more than 90% of high blood pressure cases, its cause cannot be determined. This makes managing it kind of trial and error.

Well, I know one sure-fire cure - no matter how frustrating my day may be, stress instantly melts away when I get a kiss from my grandkids – or a hug from my grown kids. It is the best antidote to stress!  

Sue Klein

Sue is a mom of two, grandmother of four and daughter to her own mother. She blogs about all things 'grandma.' ...

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Categories: parent-stories, lifestyle,