Last week, I realized I hadn’t taken my blood pressure for months. I keep a battery-operated cuff in the TV room where I’m apt to see and use it. After viewing the 5:00 news, I was stunned to measure my blood pressure and find it elevated. I did the same procedure three days in a row and experienced the same disappointing result. I’ve heard heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. Yikes!

The fourth afternoon, instead of news, I watched the 1944 movie Wuthering Heights, based on Emily Bronte’s novel, which I’d taped earlier. This bleak old black-and-white film is awash with intrigue, tension, and mystery. But when I took my blood pressure it was nice and low. Not a double-blind study, but it struck me that watching news causes anxiety. But I want to be informed, don’t I?

I love watching movies that are older than I am.

I love watching movies that are older than I am.

The last topic I want to ruminate over is the upcoming election. I wonder if I’ll have to give up watching the news until the three-ring-circus is over.

For years, I’ve heard stress can worsen or increase illness—just about any ailment. But how can I avoid the culprit?  Knowing stress is bad for my health, I’m determined to cultivate habits to lessen it.

When I asked a friend how she dealt with stress she said, “I spend time with my dogs. Cats work too.” But after many years of pet ownership, we don’t have a pooch.

It’s been scientifically proven that pet-ownership is good for your heart!

It’s been scientifically proven that pet-ownership is good for your heart!

I recall as a girl coming home from school and sipping tea with my sister while my mother served us cinnamon toast. Reliving this scene relaxes me. However, several friends didn’t have close relationships with their mothers or siblings, so teatime would not be a stress friendly scenario. Is it for you?

How about a chat on the phone or going out to lunch? A man once described a person as an “energy vampire,” which got me thinking: there are some people I enjoy, but who deplete my energy. When I get off the phone after a lengthy conversation, I’m exhausted.

Do you think Old Order Amish driving buggies get stressed in traffic jams?

Do you think Old Order Amish driving buggies get stressed in traffic jams?

Has your teenage son or daughter ever told you to “chill out”? An annoying term, no? I was surprised to learn that cold weather can spike blood pressure. So can sassy teenagers.

When contemplating ways to de-stress, why do I long for buttered popcorn? Are there certain foods that seem to calm your mood? Or maybe the act of cooking is soothing, as it is for many.

Amish-made Tea Towel and Potholder, from Lancaster County, PA.

Amish-made Tea Towel and Potholder, from Lancaster County, PA.

Do you have remedies for lessening unavoidable stress? Please share a tip with me and enter to win this Amish-made Tea Towel and Potholder, from Lancaster County, PA, plus a signed book from The Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy: either Leaving Lancaster, it’s sequel Pennsylvania Patchwork, or Forever Amish! Winner has three days to respond. USA and Canada.

Trilogy