In my conversations with Paul, a businessman, it appears that his daily stress is at the root cause of his hypertension. Of course in today’s world doctors already have him on maintenance high blood medication but Paul was surprised to know that he could actually get off that maintenance drug routine. It’s true! People can fix the lifestyle related causes of their hypertension, but with just the right approach and best done gradually over a couple months.
I explained to Paul how Adrenalin, a hormone the body secretes in response to stress, contributes to hypertension in two ways; first, by increasing heart rate and second by making the body retain water to dilute the high concentrations of the hormone. High levels of Insulin can also cause water retention so things are worst if you are stressed and obese!
Nature provides Adrenalin to prepare our bodies to fight or to run away from a threat; with either option consuming large amounts of energy and involving much physical activity. In the business world, when we experience stress, we don’t get to burn up all that Adrenalin physically, so it lingers in the body and in a protective act, the body holds water to dilute its toxic levels.
So here you are, or anyone experiencing stress in a non-life-threatening situation, going through this scenario just outlined in the previous paragraph. In our busy worlds this can happen everyday to some extent, so it is no surprise we see a lot of hypertension. There are three things you can do to reduce hypertension due to stressful lifestyles.
- Get plenty of rest, so you are fresh and metabolically fit to take on the day; after all stress happens when the confrontations are greater than your ability to adapt in the moment.
- Have regular daily fitness activities to burn up any of the lingering Adrenalin in your system.
- Take frequent Breathing / Rest periods: one, five or fifteen minute breathing sessions. This is like applying counter measures to reduce the effects of Adrenalin.
Permit me to explain that last one. What is this counter measure? Its like adding cold water to something that is too hot and Adrenalin makes things hot, so what would make this cool down? The anti-stress hormone in the body is named oxytocin. You access higher levels of oxytocin by engaging in relaxing breathing techniques.
Follow this activity: take a deep breath but do not release it right away; instead hold it as long as you can and then very slowly exhale. That is the one minute method of slowing down your heart. Follow this with a gradual decrease in the rhythm of both inhaling and exhaling so that by the end of 5 minutes your system is flooding with oxytocin. Work on stretching out how long it takes to perform both breathing in and breathing out while you maintain a relaxed body position and permit yourself (like meditation) to relax over 15 minutes in this condition.
Always breath in through the nose and breath out through the mouth, like they teach in meditation. You can see how this will relax your heart rate, increase your anti-stress hormone levels and effectively adds stress counter-measures to your stressful days.
Yours in Real Life,