12. Park in the Outer Mongolia of the parking lot. All you need is an extra 4,000 to 5,000 steps a day and you could lower your blood pressure 11 points! At least, that’s what researchers from the University of Tennessee found when they tracked postmenopausal women.
13. Hold hands with your partner for 10 minutes. That’s all it took in a University of North Carolina study to keep blood pressure steady during a stressful incident. Oh, and a brief hug afterward. You can handle that, can’t you?
14. Sleep with earplugs tonight. Studies suggest that being exposed to noise while you’re sleeping may increase your blood pressure as well as your heart rate, so block out the noise.
15. Drink a glass of OJ every morning and another at night. That’s all it took in a Cleveland Clinic study to lower systolic blood pressure an average of 7 percent and diastolic blood pressure an average of 4.6 percent. Praise the high levels of potassium in orange juice.
16. Go to the pound and adopt a pet. One study found that a pet helped control blood pressure changes in people with hypertension as much as the hypertension drug Zestril.
17. Think about how you’ve been sleeping lately. Waking up tired? Partner complaining you snore a lot? Talk to your doctor. You may have a condition called sleep apnea. Studies find that half of the people who have the condition, in which you stop breathing dozens or even hundreds of times during the night, also have hypertension.
18. Find (and eliminate) at least one hidden source of salt a day. For instance, did you know that many breakfast cereals contain sodium? Who needs salt in their cereal? Find a brand that’s sodium-free.
19. Spend five minutes a day sitting in a quiet room repeating this mantra: “One day at a time.” Meditation is a known stress-relieving technique, with numerous studies attesting to its ability to lower blood pressure. Other good mantras include: “I’m doing the right thing,” “This, too, shall pass,” “Breathe,” and “Calm, calm, calm.”
20. Stock your medicine chest with these supplements and take them daily: Garlic, fish oil, calcium, CoQ10. All have blood-pressure-lowering properties. Just check with your doctor first.