It is common wisdom that stress can momentarily elevate your blood-pressure. In fact, many scientists believe that our highly stressed modern way of life is one of the underlying causes of high blood-pressure (hypertension).
Risks increase over the long term
According to the Mayo Clinic on High Blood Pressure, "The effects of acute stress are usually only temporary. However, if you experience stress regularly, the increases in blood-pressure that it produces over time damage your arteries, heart, brain, kidneys and eyes -- just as with persistent high blood-pressure. This cumulative effect of stress often goes unrecognized until it manifests itself as a serious health problem."
[Mayoclinic.com: Stress and High Blood Pressure: What's the connection?]
So what can be done about it?
To reduce stress, relaxation is always recommended, however in most cases it is impractical.
Here are some suggestions you can try instead: If you are about to embark on a stressful situation (i.e. phone call, walking into the boss's office), take a few deep breaths and exhale slowly. While this simple breathing maneuver will not provide a sustained reduction, it can certainly reduce the temporary BP elevation, which is important in itself.
Practicing meditation, yoga and other techniques which incorporate slow breathing exercises enable better coping with stressful events and in some cases even lower blood-pressure.