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No more Hypertension: Harvard Health shares 7 ways to reduce stress and keep blood pressure down

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Hypertension ̶ or elevated blood pressure ̶ is the biggest killer and cause of premature deaths worldwide. High and uncontrolled blood pressure is a serious medical condition that significantly increases the risks of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases.
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 1.28 billion adults aged 30-79 years worldwide have hypertension, most (two-thirds) living in low- and middle-income countries. An estimated 46 per cent of adults with hypertension are unaware that they have the condition.
When it comes to preventing and treating high blood pressure, one often-overlooked strategy is managing stress. If you often find yourself tense and on the edge, Harvard experts suggest that you try these seven ways to reduce stress.
  1. Get enough sleep: To stay healthy you need as much rest as you also need adequate exercise. Inadequate or poor-quality sleep can negatively affect your mood, mental alertness, energy level, and physical health. It can upset the smooth working of your organs and organ systems, and send everything into a state of disarray.
  2. Learn relaxation techniques: If there is no inner peace, you cannot savour any victory. Meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, deep breathing exercises, and yoga are powerful relaxation techniques and stress-busters. Meditation, Yoga nd Pranayam (control over breath) are ancient Indian techniques which modern science appreciates as well.
  3. You are important to society and ensure that the love is mutual: Strengthen your social network. Find something useful to contribute to the ecosystem you live in. Connect with others by taking a class, joining an organisation, or participating in a support group.
  4. Be a fantastic manager:Hone your time-management skills. Find and maintain a good work-life balance. The more efficiently you can juggle work and family demands, the lower your stress level.
  5. Never sleep over a problem: You must resolve or defuse a crisis. Try to resolve stressful situations if you can. Don't let stressful situations fester. Hold family problem-solving sessions and use negotiation skills at home and at work.
  6. Repeat after me -- I love myself: However busy or taxed you are, always nurture yourself. Treat yourself to a massage. Truly savour an experience: for example, eat slowly and really focus on the taste and sensations of each bite. Take a walk or a nap, or listen to your favourite music. Shell out 15-20 minutes for a dedicated (phone) talk with someone precious - a friend, a relative, just an acquaintance.
  7. Never shy away from reaching out: Ask for help. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your spouse, friends, and neighbours. If stress and anxiety persist, talk to your doctor.
The Bottom Line: Several studies have shown that emotional and social stress is a contributory factor to the development of hypertension. If so, relaxation and stress management therapy may reduce high blood pressure (BP) and its complications. Along with these above-stated ways to reduce stress, add in a healthy lifestyle — maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, regular exercise, and a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthful fats — and high blood pressure could be a thing of the past.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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