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Where the minute a doctor or nurse starts taking your blood pressure, it spikes, simply because you’re stressed about being examined. Well, next time they’re about to put a blood pressure cuff on you: Take 3 or 4 deep, slow breaths over 30 seconds. In a study, people who did that lowered their systolic number by 15 points – that’s the top number. Deep breathing works to slow your heart rate, which triggers the reflexes that control blood pressure, and brings it down to where it normally is when you’re not on an exam table.

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