Understanding the Connection Between Mental Pressure and Blood Pressure
A competitive, fast-paced lifestyle builds pressure and stress to prove your capabilities. The mounting workloads and the pressure to remain relevant in your personal and professional lives creates undue stress and can take a toll on your mental health. The growing concern of anxiety and stress among the urban population, the young and the old has led to dialogues and open conversations. However, there’s still a long way to go. Mental pressure or stress can unknowingly affect your overall health and cause rise in blood pressure and if persistent, may ultimately lead to hypertension.
The predominantly sedentary lifestyle adds to the blood pressure problem and can culminate in serious health issues in the future. In stressful situations, the body produces a sudden surge of hormones that temporarily increase blood pressure, narrowing your blood vessels. Also, stress can push you into unhealthy habits (e.g. sleeplessness) that can contribute to development of high blood pressure.
Unhealthy habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol intake, erratic sleeping patterns, and eating processed foods can increase the risk of hypertension and heart-related problems like heart attacks and stroke. Heart diseases linked to other stress-related health conditions like anxiety and depression are a possibility.
The hormones released by your body when you’re stressed (e.g. catecholamines) can cause damage to the arteries leading to heart disease. Although stress-related high blood pressure causes temporary spikes in blood pressure, severe damage can be inflicted on the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys if not taken care of at the right time.
What Measures Can You Take For Better Stress Management?
Stress management does not directly lower your blood pressure; it maintains your overall health. Behavioural and lifestyle changes make a vast difference in reducing mental stress. You can adopt any of these techniques to lower your high blood pressure.
- Streamline Your Daily Schedule:If always pressed for time, you need to pause and regroup. Do not fill up your day with activities to be completed at a later date. You can spare a few minutes to review your to-do lists or calendar every day and mark only the essential projects for the day.
- Increase Physical Activity/Exercise: Exercise is a natural stress-buster. However, speak with your doctor before beginning an exercise program if diagnosed with high blood pressure. Thirty minutes of physical activity every day (or 150 minutes per week) like brisk walking, jogging, or aerobics helps in the long run. You can break up your exercise into a 10-minute session taken three times during a day.
- Try To Get Enough Sleep:Too little or too much sleep can add to the stress. Make sure you get just enough sleep at night and avoid an erratic sleep schedule. An average of eight to nine hours of sleep is enough to feel well-rested. Avoid use of cell phones and television before sleeping.
- Acknowledge And Unburden Your Problems:Living in denial about your problems will get you nowhere when it comes to dealing with stress. Learn to acknowledge the situation and find solutions to tackle it. Speak to your loved ones or seek professional help. You can even pursue your hobbies, be it painting or music. Get involved in a support group with mind alike individuals and continue your goals with a group.
Apart from these techniques, Yoga and meditation help strengthen your mind and body, thus, helping you relax. It may even bring down your systolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg or more. For more of these stress management techniques, you can browse through our article: Stress Management: An Essential Lifestyle Change To Control High BP.
Remember, there is no substitute for diagnosis, advice, and treatment by a licensed physician. However, taking a wholesome approach that maintains your mental and physical health can help control blood pressure. Practicing any of the stress management techniques mentioned above, eating a healthy diet, maintaining good physical health, taking your high blood pressure medication regularly contributes immensely to lowering blood pressure in patients with hypertension. It helps reduce work pressure and get better sleep, necessary to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
However, if you are diagnosed with hypertension seek immediate medical care and consult your doctor before making any lifestyle changes or taking any medications. If you wish to know more of what can be done to manage high blood pressure, reach out to our expert cardiologists at BPinControl.
Note of Caution: This article is for information purpose only. Always consult your doctor in case of any blood pressure or other health related problems.