According to the World Health Organization, high blood pressure is the number one killer in the world. Since high blood pressure is associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke, we all need to take steps to get our blood pressure under control. Many people are completely unaware that they have high blood pressure, while others are aware but are not appropriately treated for the condition.

If you want to get your blood pressure under control, follow these steps.

Exercise. Go for a walk whenever you have a few spare minutes, whether on your lunch break or in the evening after dinner. Remember that the toughest period of setting a new habit is the first two or three weeks. Stick with it, and soon exercise will fit effortlessly into your schedule.

Rest up. When you aren’t getting enough sleep, your heart is overworked. You need to aim for seven or eight hours of sleep every night, so that your heart rate can drop and your body can get the rest it needs.

Watch your caffeine intake. Switch to decaf or half-caf coffee, and don’t partake in that mid-afternoon extra cup. Energize yourself with a brisk walk instead

Take your blood pressure regularly. People who regularly monitor their blood pressure are more likely to be successful at lowering it. Set a smart phone reminder to check your blood pressure daily. These frequent check-ins will help to keep you on target toward your goals.

Lower your stress level. Chronic stress can raise your blood pressure, meaning it’s literally bad for your health! This may take some experimentation, but you need to find ways to de-stress your life. For some people, regular yoga classes or meditation work well. Others may require practical changes to their schedules, or even professional counseling.

Once you begin taking steps to address your high blood pressure, you will discover that it’s often not difficult to get it under control. Of course, if you have chronically high blood pressure that does not respond to the above methods, see a physician immediately for professional guidance.