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12 Amazing Sex Tricks He Secretly Wants You to Know

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Here is an advice for married women who have let the embers of passion and curiosity die down. This could save a marriage.

These are the super-easy, anyone-can-do-them tricks your husband really, really wishes you’d learn.
In Beverly Hills, where I live, there’s a whole cosmos of se_x consu_ltants, coaches, and “healers” who stand ready to enlighten you, under the palm-shaded sun, for jackpot fees ($100 an hour and up). My mission as an intrepid Redbook reporter was to unearth the elite of this ex0tic, er0tic body of experts and reveal to you what knowledge—if any—was worth so much cash.

All roads led to Dr. Ava Cadell. I couldn’t wait to ransack her brain for solutions to the f0remost knotty dilemma for me and every other woman I know: What can I do to keep se_x fresh in my marriage? I left her office stunned and enlightened (not to mention $300 lighter), with a bouquet of wondrous tricks that I didn’t know I didn’t know—and believe me, you don’t either. So listen up.

1. The Card Trick

People should not have se_x without talking about it—lovingly, salaciously, practically, fearlessly—and often. How else can we know how to thrill each other? Couples don’t ask for what they want because they’re afraid they won’t get it. If you don’t ask, however, you are sure not to get it. The spoken word can be f0replay, intimate and hot. Be brave. Dr. Ava suggests this se_x game. Plan to make a night of it:

a. Set the mood for a romantic evening with your partner. Then write all your se_x fantas!es on three-by-five-inch cards. All of them, no matter how bestial, or politically taboo.

b. Read your cards together and, as you do, divide them into three piles: fantas!es you want to turn into reality (e.g., s_ex in an airplane lavatory); fantas!es you want to keep that way (e.g., se_x with your man and another woman); and fantas!es that do nothing for one of the partners (e.g., se_x with Big Bird).

c. Discard the pile of fantasies that turn a partner off. Keep the other two piles. Have one partner choose a card from one of them, and then do whatever’s written on it. If he chooses this time, you get to choose next time. If the chosen fantasy is one you both want to keep a fantasy, you’re not going to actually do it—you’re just going to make love as you talk about it. Example: he picks the fanta_sy where he makes love to you and another woman (most men’s number one choice). Start to make love while both of you describe, in ex_quisite car_nal detail, who’s doing what to whom and how. To avoid hurt feelings it’s best if you describe what the other woman looks like (he’ll say “She’s 18″—and you’ll get mad). Make her your physical opposite: If you’re small brea$ted, make her bo0bs a b0nanza. If you’re all-American, make her se_aringly exo_tic. You get the point. If your man is too shy to join in, ask him questions, like “I can’t see her mouth—where is it?” Act things out (with flair!) as you narrate them. Dr. Ava recommends that you end these sessions with your man cl!maxing inside of you as you rather than as the other woman. This will maintain !ntimacy and quell that green-eyed monster.

2. The Not-Your-Average-Missionary Trick

Q: When is the missi0nary position not the missi0nary position?

A: When you stroke your man’s perineum. This small stretch of flesh between the anus and the testicles is an exalted but often neglected place. When it is cares$ed or gently pr0dded during se_x, men fuse with the eighth dimension. My man sure did; I felt like I floored a Ferrari.

Don’t assume that the great favor of your vag!na is enough. Gild the lily.

3. The Whole-New-Ball-Game Trick

A man’s test!cles, says Dr. Ava, are the complement to our ov_aries: a m_ystical place, the epicenter of new life. But unlike ovaries, testicles can be touched—and boy, should they be t0uched. The se_nsations they produce are beyond the sum of their parts (forgive the p_un): profound. P!nch, tug, s*ck on his te_sticles. L!nger. Dawdle. Don’t make this an afterthought. This is a destination in itself.

4. The Place-You-Don’t-Want-to-Go-But-Should Trick

It’s the anus. Not yours, his. Penetrating a man’s anus stimulates his pr0state the male G_sp0t. Do not underestimate the power of this tip-off. The results are titanic.

Most men crave anal play, whether they ask for it or not. Most women, however, do not daydream of fulfilling this desire. I am among them. When I tell Dr. Ava that I would just as soon skip that train stop, she shoots me the mother-in-law look. “Get over it,” she says. “Attitudes like that are why men cheat.” Yes, ma’am.

Start by lightly circling the outside of his anus with your fingers or tongue. Try a small, thin vibrat0r. If your man wants you to proceed with penetration, you can lu_bricate the vibrat0r, or use a lu_bricated, covered finger. Buy latex finger cots at the drugstore. They will prevent internal skin tears and, frankly, make the whole transaction easier for you. Prepare for bliss rockets to light his sky. I promise you that his sl_ack-jaw_ed, pinw_heel-eyed, puppy-like gratitude will abate any reluctance on your part. I, your intre_pid tour guide, now speak from the mesa of Experience. I’ll bet Mata Hari used this one.

5. The Taste-‘N’-Smell-O-Rama Trick

Smell and taste can be vivid se_xual lures, especially the way you smell and taste. Does he really like your signature perfume? Might he prefer something trashier? Spicier? Experiment.

Try bathing with a new scented oil. Walk out in a towel, then ask him to smell you and nibble and share what he thinks. Show him where. Unless you’ve bathed in skunk oil, his sharing will involve few words.

Play with flavored lu_bricants. There are dozens to choose from, like chocolate pudding flavor, strawberry, tangerine. Even if you don’t really need lu_bricants for inter_course, they’re wh0lesomely lewd, and they increase se_nsation.

Some men don’t want flavored or scented anything. They crave the smell and taste of an ar0used woman, unadorned. If you have such a man, here’s a marvelous move: Find a private moment in a public place. Tell him you can’t wait to get home ’cause you’re wet just thinking about him. Maintain eye contact as you (discreetly! se_nsuously!) snake your hand inside your clothes to your vag!na. Touch yourself; maybe moan a bit. Draw your hand out and put your fingers in his mouth. Say sweetly, “See?”

New Line Cinema

6. The Ridiculously Simple Apparel Trick

No woman alive needs to be told that sight is every man’s number one sti_mulus when it comes to se_x. This is often the bane of our existence (as when his head swivels in a restaurant like NASA radar). But the power of sight can work for you.

Forget acryl!c nails, or those “darling” accessories, or that new workout gear—men couldn’t care less. Take that cash and invest in lingerie. It can be demure; it can be ent!cingly sleazy. “Lingerie”—way above “please” or “thank you”—is the magic word.

When Dr. Ava first suggests this I say, “Oh, please. Lingerie? That old cli_ché?”

“It is a cliché, my dear,” she replies, “for a reason. Remember: men are not biologically programmed to be with one woman. Anything you can do to be different in bed—or on the floor, or in the closet—you should do. If you want a mon0gamous man.” I make a face. “That’s not what women want to hear, I know,” Ava drawls, “but it’s the truth.”

Sl_inky, lacy black things are classics. Start there.

7. The Daring Depilatory Trick

And speaking of being different in bed, Dr. Ava suggests this trusty personal favorite: Surprise your man by occasionally removing your pubic hair completely (depilatory cream is best; no itchy regrowth). This simple trick is audacious—and me_smerizing.

8. The Magic-T0uch Trick

Ma_$turbate in front of your man. Don’t be shy. Describe what you’re doing as you do it. Ma$turbate him while he watches. Tell him his pen!s is gorgeous. (Wearing spike heels when you say this is always a plus.) If your body isn’t perfect, remember: Candlelight can soothe a spe_ctrum of flaws.

9. The Getting-to-Know-Yourself Trick

Practice makes perfect. And perfecting your 0rgasms alone will give you the confidence to relax—deux. The first thing you have to do is banish the notion that you must have an 0rgasm through inter_course. Not a lot of women do, and some who say they do are lying. Most women, however, can cl!max with ma$turbation, and it’s a great way to learn what really works for you.

Get loose with yourself. Make the time. Wear something hot. Try different kinds of vibrat0rs (Juli Ashton’s Pink Pocket Rocket, tiny and powerful, is a real people pleaser. Check it out at www.lase_xtoys.com). Try different positions: on your back, in a chair, kneeling in front of a mirror. Touch yourself in different ways—for instance, play with your labia only until the verge of 0rgasm, and only then touch your cl!toris directly. Build se_nsations slowly; keep yourself near the ver_ge for as long as you can. Discover what works best for you, and explain it to your partner. Ladies: He can’t read your mind.

10. The G_Sp0t 0rgasm Trick

The good news: You definitely have a G_sp0t. The bad news: Finding it is like playing pin the tail on the donkey.

The G_sp0t is, anatomically speaking, your urethral sp0nge—a sprig of knowledge I find wildly une_rotic. It’s our version of the male prostate, best st!mulated through the vag!na’s front wall with your fingers, or with a flexing, ante_nna_like vibrator designed for this quest.

To find your G_sp0t, get yourself nicely ar0used; then, inserting one or two fingers, palm up, press slowly around your vag!na’s front wall, about two inches up. It var!es from girl to girl. Before hell freezes over you will hit a dime-size, slightly ridged sp0t that provokes an urge to urinate. Eng_rave that location on your brain, then go and do so. When you return, find it again. This time ignore the got-to-go feeling; you’ll know it’s false. If you keep st!mulating, that sen_sation will bloom into pleasure. Once you’ve aced this, demonstrate it for your partner.

A favorite inte_rcourse position is optimal for G_sp0t st!mulation: Kneel atop your man, legs on either side of his torso. Lean back on his raised knees.

Dr. Ava says G_sp0t 0rgasms are titanic, intense, different from what the ol’ workhorse cl!toris can bring. Some women experience an “eja_culation” with these—a milky fluid discharged from the ure_thral area.

11. The C0ndom Trick

There are times when you just need a c0ndom, no matter how smu_gly exclusive you are: You have a yeast infection—he has a weird red spot—you’re in Hawaii without your pills. But produce one and you see the face of a petulant toddler veneered on the man you love. It growls, “I’m not using that thing. No way.”

The smart woman responds sweetly with: “But baby, I need to practice putting them on with my mouth.” Men love this. Let him know it’s an old h0okers’ trick. Here’s how it goes:

a. Hold the condom so the rolled edge is facing you.

b. Place it between your lips and teeth that way. Stick your t0ngue in the middle so tongue-in-c0ndom pokes out just a bit.

c. Put t0ngue-in-c0ndom on the head of the pen!s (if you want to train for this before the actual event, practice on a banana).

d. Cover your teeth with your lips and ease your mouth over his pen!s until the c0ndom is unrolled. Make sure you leave some space at the top for semen. And don’t conduct this like a relay race. A little finesse, if you please!

Genius, huh? You’re welcome.

12. Bonus Tip

Do make noise during se_x, girlfriend. Dr. Ava says enthu_siasm is the number one turn-on for men.These are the super-easy, anyone-can-do-them tricks your husband really, really wishes you’d learn.
In Beverly Hills, where I live, there’s a whole cosmos of se_x consu_ltants, coaches, and “healers” who stand ready to enlighten you, under the palm-shaded sun, for jackpot fees ($100 an hour and up). My mission as an intrepid Redbook reporter was to unearth the elite of this ex0tic, er0tic body of experts and reveal to you what knowledge—if any—was worth so much cash.

All roads led to Dr. Ava Cadell. I couldn’t wait to ransack her brain for solutions to the f0remost knotty dilemma for me and every other woman I know: What can I do to keep se_x fresh in my marriage? I left her office stunned and enlightened (not to mention $300 lighter), with a bouquet of wondrous tricks that I didn’t know I didn’t know—and believe me, you don’t either. So listen up.

1. The Card Trick

People should not have se_x without talking about it—lovingly, salaciously, practically, fearlessly—and often. How else can we know how to thrill each other? Couples don’t ask for what they want because they’re afraid they won’t get it. If you don’t ask, however, you are sure not to get it. The spoken word can be f0replay, intimate and hot. Be brave. Dr. Ava suggests this se_x game. Plan to make a night of it:

a. Set the mood for a romantic evening with your partner. Then write all your se_x fantas!es on three-by-five-inch cards. All of them, no matter how bestial, or politically taboo.

b. Read your cards together and, as you do, divide them into three piles: fantas!es you want to turn into reality (e.g., s_ex in an airplane lavatory); fantas!es you want to keep that way (e.g., se_x with your man and another woman); and fantas!es that do nothing for one of the partners (e.g., se_x with Big Bird).

c. Discard the pile of fantasies that turn a partner off. Keep the other two piles. Have one partner choose a card from one of them, and then do whatever’s written on it. If he chooses this time, you get to choose next time. If the chosen fantasy is one you both want to keep a fantasy, you’re not going to actually do it—you’re just going to make love as you talk about it. Example: he picks the fanta_sy where he makes love to you and another woman (most men’s number one choice). Start to make love while both of you describe, in ex_quisite car_nal detail, who’s doing what to whom and how. To avoid hurt feelings it’s best if you describe what the other woman looks like (he’ll say “She’s 18″—and you’ll get mad). Make her your physical opposite: If you’re small brea$ted, make her bo0bs a b0nanza. If you’re all-American, make her se_aringly exo_tic. You get the point. If your man is too shy to join in, ask him questions, like “I can’t see her mouth—where is it?” Act things out (with flair!) as you narrate them. Dr. Ava recommends that you end these sessions with your man cl!maxing inside of you as you rather than as the other woman. This will maintain !ntimacy and quell that green-eyed monster.

2. The Not-Your-Average-Missionary Trick

Q: When is the missi0nary position not the missi0nary position?

A: When you stroke your man’s perineum. This small stretch of flesh between the anus and the testicles is an exalted but often neglected place. When it is cares$ed or gently pr0dded during se_x, men fuse with the eighth dimension. My man sure did; I felt like I floored a Ferrari.

Don’t assume that the great favor of your vag!na is enough. Gild the lily.

3. The Whole-New-Ball-Game Trick

A man’s test!cles, says Dr. Ava, are the complement to our ov_aries: a m_ystical place, the epicenter of new life. But unlike ovaries, testicles can be touched—and boy, should they be t0uched. The se_nsations they produce are beyond the sum of their parts (forgive the p_un): profound. P!nch, tug, s*ck on his te_sticles. L!nger. Dawdle. Don’t make this an afterthought. This is a destination in itself.

4. The Place-You-Don’t-Want-to-Go-But-Should Trick

It’s the an_us. Not yours, his. Penetrating a man’s anus st!mulates his pr0state—he male G_sp0t. Do not underestimate the power of this tip-off. The results are titanic.

Most men crave anal play, whether they ask for it or not. Most women, however, do not daydream of fulfilling this desire. I am among them. When I tell Dr. Ava that I would just as soon skip that train stop, she shoots me the mother-in-law look. “Get over it,” she says. “Attitudes like that are why men cheat.” Yes, ma’am.

Start by lightly circling the outside of his anus with your fingers or tongue. Try a small, thin vibrat0r. If your man wants you to proceed with penetration, you can lu_bricate the vibrat0r, or use a lu_bricated, covered finger. Buy latex finger cots at the drugstore. They will prevent internal skin tears and, frankly, make the whole transaction easier for you. Prepare for bliss rockets to light his sky. I promise you that his sl_ack-jaw_ed, pinw_heel-eyed, puppy-like gratitude will abate any reluctance on your part. I, your intre_pid tour guide, now speak from the mesa of Experience. I’ll bet Mata Hari used this one.

5. The Taste-‘N’-Smell-O-Rama Trick

Smell and taste can be vivid se_xual lures, especially the way you smell and taste. Does he really like your signature perfume? Might he prefer something trashier? Spicier? Experiment.

Try bathing with a new scented oil. Walk out in a towel, then ask him to smell you and nibble and share what he thinks. Show him where. Unless you’ve bathed in skunk oil, his sharing will involve few words.

Play with flavored lu_bricants. There are dozens to choose from, like chocolate pudding flavor, strawberry, tangerine. Even if you don’t really need lu_bricants for inter_course, they’re wh0lesomely lewd, and they increase se_nsation.

Some men don’t want flavored or scented anything. They crave the smell and taste of an ar0used woman, unadorned. If you have such a man, here’s a marvelous move: Find a private moment in a public place. Tell him you can’t wait to get home ’cause you’re wet just thinking about him. Maintain eye contact as you (discreetly! se_nsuously!) snake your hand inside your clothes to your vag!na. Touch yourself; maybe moan a bit. Draw your hand out and put your fingers in his mouth. Say sweetly, “See?”

New Line Cinema

6. The Ridiculously Simple Apparel Trick

No woman alive needs to be told that sight is every man’s number one sti_mulus when it comes to se_x. This is often the bane of our existence (as when his head swivels in a restaurant like NASA radar). But the power of sight can work for you.

Forget acryl!c nails, or those “darling” accessories, or that new workout gear—men couldn’t care less. Take that cash and invest in lingerie. It can be demure; it can be ent!cingly sleazy. “Lingerie”—way above “please” or “thank you”—is the magic word.

When Dr. Ava first suggests this I say, “Oh, please. Lingerie? That old cli_ché?”

“It is a cliché, my dear,” she replies, “for a reason. Remember: men are not biologically programmed to be with one woman. Anything you can do to be different in bed—or on the floor, or in the closet—you should do. If you want a mon0gamous man.” I make a face. “That’s not what women want to hear, I know,” Ava drawls, “but it’s the truth.”

Sl_inky, lacy black things are classics. Start there.

7. The Daring Depilatory Trick

And speaking of being different in bed, Dr. Ava suggests this trusty personal favorite: Surprise your man by occasionally removing your pubic hair completely (depilatory cream is best; no itchy regrowth). This simple trick is audacious—and me_smerizing.

8. The Magic-T0uch Trick

Masturbate in front of your man. Don’t be shy. Describe what you’re doing as you do it. Ma$turbate him while he watches. Tell him his pen!s is gorgeous. (Wearing spike heels when you say this is always a plus.) If your body isn’t perfect, remember: Candlelight can soothe a spe_ctrum of flaws.

9. The Getting-to-Know-Yourself Trick

Practice makes perfect. And perfecting your 0rgasms alone will give you the confidence to relax—deux. The first thing you have to do is banish the notion that you must have an 0rgasm through inter_course. Not a lot of women do, and some who say they do are lying. Most women, however, can cl!max with ma$turbation, and it’s a great way to learn what really works for you.

Get loose with yourself. Make the time. Wear something hot. Try different kinds of vibrat0rs (Juli Ashton’s Pink Pocket Rocket, tiny and powerful, is a real people pleaser. Check it out at www.lase_xtoys.com). Try different positions: on your back, in a chair, kneeling in front of a mirror. Touch yourself in different ways—for instance, play with your labia only until the verge of 0rgasm, and only then touch your cl!toris directly. Build se_nsations slowly; keep yourself near the ver_ge for as long as you can. Discover what works best for you, and explain it to your partner. Ladies: He can’t read your mind.

10. The G_Sp0t 0rgasm Trick

The good news: You definitely have a G_sp0t. The bad news: Finding it is like playing pin the tail on the donkey.

The G_sp0t is, anatomically speaking, your urethral sp0nge—a sprig of knowledge I find wildly une_rotic. It’s our version of the male prostate, best st!mulated through the vag!na’s front wall with your fingers, or with a flexing, ante_nna_like vibrator designed for this quest.

To find your G_sp0t, get yourself nicely ar0used; then, inserting one or two fingers, palm up, press slowly around your vag!na’s front wall, about two inches up. It var!es from girl to girl. Before hell freezes over you will hit a dime-size, slightly ridged sp0t that provokes an urge to urinate. Eng_rave that location on your brain, then go and do so. When you return, find it again. This time ignore the got-to-go feeling; you’ll know it’s false. If you keep st!mulating, that sen_sation will bloom into pleasure. Once you’ve aced this, demonstrate it for your partner.

A favorite intercourse position is optimal for G_sp0t st!mulation: Kneel atop your man, legs on either side of his torso. Lean back on his raised knees.

Dr. Ava says G_sp0t 0rgasms are titanic, intense, different from what the ol’ workhorse cl!toris can bring. Some women experience an “eja_culation” with these a milky fluid discharged from the urethral area.

11. The C0ndom Trick

There are times when you just need a c0ndom, no matter how smu_gly exclusive you are: You have a yeast infection—he has a weird red spot—you’re in Hawaii without your pills. But produce one and you see the face of a petulant toddler veneered on the man you love. It growls, “I’m not using that thing. No way.”

The smart woman responds sweetly with: “But baby, I need to practice putting them on with my mouth.” Men love this. Let him know it’s an old h0okers’ trick. Here’s how it goes:

a. Hold the condom so the rolled edge is facing you.

b. Place it between your lips and teeth that way. Stick your t0ngue in the middle so tongue-in-c0ndom pokes out just a bit.

c. Put t0ngue-in-c0ndom on the head of the pen!s (if you want to train for this before the actual event, practice on a banana).

d. Cover your teeth with your lips and ease your mouth over his pen!s until the c0ndom is unrolled. Make sure you leave some space at the top for semen. And don’t conduct this like a relay race. A little finesse, if you please!

Genius, huh? You’re welcome.

12. Bonus Tip

Do make noise during sex, girlfriend. Dr. Ava says enthu_siasm is the number one turn-on for men.

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Health & Lifestyle

Get a 24-Hour Blood Pressure Reading to really know your heart health

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  • High blood pressure (hypertension) is a warning sign of multiple health issues.
  • A new study finds that the best way to determine a person’s heart health is to look at their blood pressure over 24 hours.
  • This method could offset “white coat hypertension,” where the stress of going to the doctor’s office can increase a person’s blood pressure.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for nearly 1 in every 4 deaths — or about 610,000 deathsTrusted Source — each year.

It’s also the most expensive disease, costing the country nearly $1 billion each day.

The vast majority of cardiovascular disease cases are preventable, had people received earlier diagnoses and treatments.

One way to detect signs of cardiovascular disease is a simple blood pressure reading.

High blood pressure (hypertension) has long been known to be the biggest — and most treatable — risk factor associated with diseases of the heart and vascular system. But many people don’t know they have it until it’s too late, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source.

Now, researchers have discovered a new way to get more accurate measurements of blood pressure, which can hopefully get people on the right medications sooner and help prevent cardiovascular disease.

By recording people’s blood pressure over 24 hours rather than just once in a clinic or hospital setting, doctors can more accurately diagnose high blood pressure and effectively predict someone’s risk for heart and vascular disease, according to a new international study recently published in JAMATrusted Source.

To determine the most reliable way to measure blood pressure, researchers followed 11,135 people from Europe, East Asia, and Latin America for 14 years.

They compared the accuracy of blood pressure readings that were taken in a medical setting to blood pressure recordings that were taken during both night and day over 24-hour periods.

The researchers found that the 24-hour and nighttime blood pressure measurements provided a more accurate estimate of one’s risk for heart and vascular disease compared to the in-office readings.

“Although heart and vascular disease are strongly associated with blood pressure, irrespective of how it is measured, until now we did not know which type of blood pressure measurement captured risk in the most accurate way,” study co-author Dr. Gladys Maestre, a researcher from the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, said in a statement.

The findings suggest that blood pressure should be monitored repeatedly for 24 hours to help diagnose people’s heart issues and, ultimately, prevent cardiovascular disease, according to the researchers.

“Ever since devices to measure blood pressure were invented more than 100 years ago, it’s been known that elevation of such readings predicted the eventual development of blood vessel disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney dysfunction,” says Dr. Richard Wright, a cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

In general, the further a person’s blood pressure readings deviate from the ideal, the more likely they are to eventually develop any of these health issues, Wright added.

However, a huge issue comes into play when blood pressure is measured in a healthcare setting.

Many people have elevated blood pressure readings due to anxiety of being in a medical environment — known as the white coat effect — and those high readings don’t accurately reflect a person’s overall blood pressure levels.

“Unfortunately, blood pressure isn’t a fixed number for any individual and varies widely over each day, being much higher during stress or physical exercise, and typically lowest at night during asleep,” he explained.

Even the stress of having a blood pressure cuff put on the arm or seeing a doctor walk into the room can cause some people’s blood pressure to spike, he added.

Repeated monitoring can better predict your risk

Twenty-four hour monitoring can look at a person’s blood pressure fluctuations throughout an entire day rather than at a given moment.

There’s also a huge advantage of measuring blood pressure during sleep because the results aren’t affected by daytime meals or activities.

“Ambulatory monitors give us a great sense of what the patient’s blood pressure is doing in real life as well as when they are sleeping, when it should decrease,” Dr. Nicole Harkin, a board-certified cardiologist and lipidologist with Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates in New York City, said.

“They also give us a large data set of blood pressures to look at, as opposed to a one-time snapshot in the doctor’s office, which is subject to many variables, including errors in measurement as well the patient’s recent activity level, medication timing, and inadequate rest prior to measurement,” she said.

According to Harkin, the current American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association blood pressure guidelines support the use of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to better predict cardiovascular outcomes.

Coverage for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring varies across different insurance providers. Much of the time, it’s only covered for people who experience white coat hypertension, in which an individual’s blood pressure is higher in a doctor’s office than it would normally be, she explained.

Seeing as ambulatory blood pressure monitoring can better predict long-term heart disease outcomes, healthcare providers should place a greater emphasis on 24-hour readings than those taken in a doctor’s office.

If people know their blood pressure is higher than it should be, the better they can manage it to minimize the odds they’ll develop heart disease down the road.

High blood pressure can be the biggest predictor of heart disease, so the sooner people can start managing their blood pressure, the lower their risk of heart and vascular disease may be.

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Health & Lifestyle

Short-Term Stress and Anxiety Can Actually Be Good for You

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  • Researchers say short-term stress can be beneficial by boosting performance as well as bolstering our immune system.
  • They add that anxiety can be useful when it jolts us into finishing a task or warns us of danger.
  • Stress and anxiety can add adrenaline to the circulatory system, increase respiration, slow digestion, and improve vision.
  • However, chronic stress and unwarranted anxiety can be unhealthy in a number of ways.

It’s impossible to go through life without dealing with some stress and anxiety.

Nor would you necessarily want to, mental health experts say.

Chronic stress is usually cast in an unhealthy light. And with good reason.

Heart disease, diabetes, decreased libido, gastrointestinal problems, and disruptions in sleep and appetite are just on the short list of health problems linked to elevated stress over long periods of time.

In 2018, Harvard researchers reported that people with high levels of the stress hormone cortisol performed worse on memory tests.

“The main reason we view stress so negatively is the dominant narrative put forth by stress research. [It] focuses on the negative impacts of stress, such as chronic and debilitating diseases like hypertension, obesity, and type 2 diabetes,” said Jennifer Wegmann, who teaches stress management at Binghamton University’s Decker School of Nursing.

Wegmann notes that 2017 research from the American Psychological Association (APA) found that 20 percent of Americans said they were experiencing extremely high levels of stress.

“If Americans can learn to utilize stress in a positive way, it could not only help mitigate the negative outcomes people are experiencing, but lead to improved well-being, more productivity, and personal growth,” she told Healthline.

“Stress causes harm when it exceeds any level that a person can reasonably absorb or use to build psychological strength,” Lisa Damour, PhD, author of the book “Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls,” said in a presentation this week at the APA’s annual convention in Chicago.

Short-term stress, however, can be beneficial.

“It’s important for psychologists to share our knowledge about stress with broad audiences: that stress is a given in daily life, that working at the edge of our abilities often builds those capacities, and that moderate levels of stress can have an inoculating function, which leads to higher than average resilience when we are faced with new difficulties,” she told the APA conference audience.

Anxiety, too, has its purpose.

Damour likened it to “an internal alarm system, likely handed down by evolution, that alerts us to threats both external — such as a driver swerving in a nearby lane — and internal — such as when we’ve procrastinated too long and it’s time to get started on our work.”

“Likewise,” she added, “anxiety becomes unhealthy when its alarm makes no sense. Sometimes, people feel routinely anxious for no reason at all. At other times, the alarm is totally out of proportion to the threat, such as when a student has a panic attack over a minor quiz.”

Putting the body on high alert

Charley Melson, executive director of the addiction treatment program Praxis by Landmark Recovery in Louisville, Kentucky, and a licensed professional clinical counselor, tells Healthline the body adds adrenaline to the bloodstream when under stress. That causes physiological reactions, which include increased respiration and blood flow, slower digestion, and improved vision.

Kevon Owen, a clinical psychotherapist, likens anxiety to caffeine, which increases energy and improves alertness and reaction time.

“Caffeine is the external imitation of anxiety,” the Oklahoma City counselor told Healthline.

He notes that caffeine use can also exacerbate anxiety.

“Stress is your mind’s way of prioritizing and organizing tasks that need to be done,” he said. “These things do not become negative until they interrupt or disrupt motivators or begin causing negative mental or physical anguish.”

 

Stress and anxiety are motivators

Melson says moderate, normal psychological stress “can be used by students and professionals as a form of motivation to accomplish goals and meet deadlines.”

“Similarly, stress can help keep you alert and focused, working almost like an adrenaline rush. It can even improve your recall in some situations,” she said.

As the Harvard researchers noted, however, the opposite may be true with chronic stress.

Experiencing “stage fright” and “testing anxiety” may also be mislabeled as universally negative, says Mary Joye, a licensed mental health counselor at Winter Haven Counseling in Florida.

“Anxiety is a wonderful propeller for accomplishment. It’s also good for an edge in sports and entertainment if you’re a performer. It keeps you on your toes as long as it’s not out of control. It is also what will help you rehearse, study, and in general, motivate you to become your personal best,” she told Healthline.

Inna Leiter, a licensed clinical psychologist at the Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Media, Pennsylvania, agrees.

She notes that the Yerkes–Dodson law of psychology “dictates that performance will improve with physiological or mental arousal, but only up to a point.”

“When levels of arousal become too high, performance starts to decrease,” she told Healthline.

She adds that research shows that different tasks require different levels of arousal for optimal performance.

“For example, intellectually intensive tasks often require a lower level of stress for optimal performance due to a competing need for focus and good judgment, while tasks that require a great deal of persistence (like running a marathon) may be best performed under higher levels of stimulation,” she said.

Are you experiencing ‘eustress’?

There’s even a clinical term for positive stress: eustress.

“When people are able to see the difference between positive eustress and negative stress, they can start using their stress and anxiety to their advantage,” Kristen Fescoe, clinical program manager at the stress-management firm Resility Health in Jacksonville, Florida, told Healthline.

“Just knowing this is helpful, because many people experience some anxiety, assume it will hurt their performance, and then get anxious about being anxious, and now they are too anxious,” agreed Dr. Gail Saltz, an associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill–Cornell School of Medicine, who advises viewing anxiety as a form of excitement rather than a source of worry.

Sheila Tucker, a licensed associate marriage and family therapist and owner of Heart Mind & Soul Counseling in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, tells Healthline that experiencing stress can have positive psychological benefits, too.

“Symptoms of stress and anxiety can show up when something is missing from your life, like free time, or when something is important to you,” Tucker said.

“This is a great opportunity to take a step back and look at the situation. By reframing or shifting your perspective of your experience, the grip of stress and anxiety lessen. Not to mention, you gain valuable insight on what’s really going on in your life,” she added.

“Anyone feeling overwhelmed by stress should, if possible, take measures to reduce his or her stress and/or seek help from a trained professional to learn stress-management strategies,” Damour said at the APA conference.

“For the management of anxiety, some people find relief through workbooks that help them to evaluate and challenge their own irrational thoughts. If that approach isn’t successful, or preferred, a trained professional should be consulted. In recent years, mindfulness techniques have also emerged as an effective approach to addressing both stress and anxiety,” she continued.

Damour also urged psychologists to counter the notion that people should feel calm and relaxed most of the time.

“We want to support well-being, but don’t set the bar at being happy nearly all of the time. That is a dangerous idea, because it is unnecessary and unachievable,” she said.

“If you are under the impression that you should always be joyful, your day-to-day experience may ultimately turn out to be pretty miserable.”

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