Top tips: Lifestyle changes that can help lower Hypertension

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When the blood pressure rises above 140/90, the person is diagnosed as having “Hypertension”. Also known as high blood pressure, this condition often has no symptoms. Without treatment, it can lead to a heart stroke.

Hypertension is also known as the “silent disease”. While most patients don’t have any signs or symptoms even with high blood pressure, some cases report symptoms like headaches, nose bleeds and shortness of breath. Some associated risk factors for hypertension are cholesterol & obesity.

The good news is that this condition can be prevented by making simple lifestyle changes. The key pillars that one can focus on while making those changes are:

  • The Body
  • The Mind
  • The Spirit

The Body

A balanced diet and regulated body weight are a result of a disciplined life.

It is vital to exercise and be physically active during the day to keep the body functioning at its best. Starting small and taking consistent efforts helps see better results. Even if you are unable to go to a gym or run, you can carve out time to stretch, and get involved in physical activities like yoga or a brisk walk every day. Exercise helps our body muscles gain strength and regulate hormones. It is also a great antidote to reduce stress and gain balance in aspects related to work and life. In short, it's a win-win situation!

  • It is important that you see a doctor regularly or at least chalk out an appropriate plan for medicinal interventions to regulate weight and make necessary alterations in your food intake.
  • In case of any prevailing health condition, professional supervision is mandatory.

Diet is also a major factor contributing to controlling hypertension. It is essential to reduce and control the amount of sodium consumption in everyday meals, and to limit processed foods. Keeping sugary drinks, sweets, high-fat meats and dairy products at a minimum helps a great deal.

The Mind

Stress management is essential to keep hypertension under control.

Caring for mental health is as critical as caring for physical health. Maintaining a stress-free lifestyle is a matter of conscious effort. Some of the factors that could be kept in mind are:

1. How do you define peace of mind?

2. What are your antecedents or triggers to stress?

3. What are your go-to strategies to lessen the amount of stress?

The following are some suggestions for stress management. It may help you to:

  • Distract: Step away from the problems sometimes.
  • Discuss: Seek help from a friend or even a professional to find a different perspective.
  • Develop: Create a solution-focused approach and work towards the next best step toward a resolution.

Here are some popular stress management methods:

  • Meditation and mindfulness: Numerous studies have shown that meditation and mindfulness aid the process of managing your day-to-day stress. Mindfulness is defined as being in the present moment completely. The goal is to equip the mind with essential tools to manage stress and anxious thoughts.
  • Journaling: Another technique that helps the mind become clutter-free is journaling. It is also a great tool to practice reflection. You can go back to your notes and check what works for you or what needs a different approach.
  • Practising gratitude: Along with journaling, many have reported benefitting from gratitude practices. It helps build a positive mindset. Saying to yourself simple phrases like - "I'm grateful for what I have learned" or "I'm grateful for my good health" goes a long way to inculcate gratitude in our day-to-day life.

The key is to master your mind and keep it focused and relaxed. A relaxed mind performs best and helps keep medical conditions like hypertension at bay.

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The Spirit

Our spirit is our energy, feelings, and emotions.

When we have a positive state, we feel high-spirited, whereas when we face adversities or challenges, we feel low-spirited.

Spirit can also be called your enthusiasm and outlook towards life. Some of the ways to uplift our spirit are by:

  • Practising self-compassion by giving ourselves the love we need.
  • Challenging ourselves by trying something new like a new game, a sport, or reading something completely new. It helps to push oneself away from our comfort zone and bring in creativity in the way we do things. 

It's crucial to explore and discover ourselves from time to time. Change is the only constant and implementing small changes helps navigate through life challenges successfully.

In closing

An integrated approach is important. When we can create and keep balance in our internal environment, we bring peace and joy to our external environment. In this competitive and fast-moving life, the key is to not rush with our food, thoughts, and life. One of the leading causes of hypertension is stress and an imbalanced lifestyle. Faulty habits like being overweight because of lack of movement, and dealing with elevated levels of stress because of the inability to manage and regulate emotions are all going to reflect on your physical and mental health.

Small and consistent efforts every day is all it takes to take charge of your life and start baby steps towards being content and happier with your own self.

 

About the author

 

Anupama Vishwakarma is an Applied Psychologist, a counsellor and an enthusiastic learner. She follows a client-centred approach. Her major clients are from the corporate sector and she currently works at Silver Oak Health. She strongly believes that open conversations and psycho-education are the keys to building a better world. She has conducted various webinars and panel discussions in the past 7 years.

 

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