Avoiding Bad Habits
Certain behaviors, such as smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol excessively, can be harmful over time and may contribute to poor overall health. After a high blood pressure diagnosis is made, you’ll want to take a look at what habits you could cut down on or eliminate altogether. Although these habits can be extremely hard to break, making the decision to live a healthier lifestyle is crucial for lowering your blood pressure. The benefits of adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle are very clear—they can prevent lengthy hospital stays and may even extend your life. Be sure to speak with your doctor about your desire to quit any harmful habits you have.
Tips for breaking bad habits
For most serious, harmful habits, there are support groups and helplines available. You can take advantage of programs at your workplace, local school, place of worship, clinic, and even on the Internet. Many support groups are anonymous and free of charge. Bringing your spouse or a close friend along can increase your chances of success.
Here are some more tips for breaking bad habits:
Next: Learn about some useful ideas for managing stress
- Slow and Steady. Pace yourself—habits take time to form and they take time to break. If you try to stop all at once, you may find that it’s easy to backslide
- Reward Yourself. If you’ve managed to avoid an extra beer or candy bar, reward yourself
- Replace Bad Habits With Good Ones. Substitute high-fat, high-sodium foods with healthier fare. Chew gum instead of smoking. Replace your beer with flavored seltzer water
- Don’t Beat Yourself Up. If you slip up and indulge, don’t dwell on it or feel overly guilty. Just get back on track and remind yourself that you’re doing this for you