World Hypertension Day 2021: How to overcome hypertension, anxiety and depression during the pandemic

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Updated: May 17, 2021 3:23 PM

In a world riddled with tensions, anxiety and depression, the word 'hypertension' is fast becoming a commonly used one.

mediatationBy spiritual practices such as meditation, prayer, and holistic yoga, we can disempower our unhealthy desires and empower our healthy desires. (Photo source: IE)

World Hypertension Day 2021: In a world riddled with tensions, anxiety and depression, the word ‘hypertension’ is fast becoming a commonly used one. The reasons for hypertension are plenty. But the good news is that hypertension can be overcome with sustainable lifestyle practices. We spoke to few eminent authors whose views on building lifestyle management practices are directly linked with their work and life goals.

“Sometimes acute hypertension needs to be medically treated. To address it sustainably, however, we also need to better manage our lives,” Chaitanya Charan, author of ‘Demystifying Reincarnation’ and ‘Wisdom from the Ramayana’ tells Financial Express Online.

The eminent author advocates three accessible principles for lifestyle management as follows:

World Hypertension Day: Three principles for lifestyle management

Simplify: Hypertension often arises from the overcomplexity of our world: too many things to do, too many choices to make, too many factors to consider. Even if we can’t change the world we live in, we can change how we live in it. We can simplify our lives by regularizing our standard activities: for example, having fixed times for sleep and meals. Another way to simplify is by digital detox or just regulating our device usage time.

Clarify: We need to determine what matters for us and prioritize properly if we take some me-time for introspection, aided by journaling. Reading time-tested wisdom texts like the Bhagavad Gita can also help us remember and realign with the True North.

Purify: Even after knowing what is important for us, we sometimes can’t focus on those things because of the unhealthy desires lurking inside us. By spiritual practices such as meditation, prayer, and holistic yoga, we can disempower our unhealthy desires and empower our healthy desires.

World Hypertension Day 2021: Rise to the challenge, have faith

Shubha Vilas, author of Open Eyed Meditations, Mystical tales for a Magical Life, Hanuman Chalisa, Panchatantra and many other books, observes, “Times like these are experienced by humankind maybe once in a hundred years. Unfortunately, we are going through such experiences right now. Doctors, scientists, administration are doing all they can. Is there anything that we can do? Let’s start with something that is widespread – hypertension. A common associate of stress.”

He further adds, “When things go grossly wrong in the corporate world, we go back to getting the basics right. Now if you were told that sleeping enough (at night as opposed to day), eating sattvik food and deep breathing are the fundamental basis of health, eyes are going to roll up. But fact is that we do neglect these very basic fundamentals. However, there’s more to health. And that is faith. Faith in God. Faith in higher powers. Faith that cosmic energy is pro-life and not anti-life.Keeping this faith is paramount to keeping emotions in check.”

World Hypertension Day 2021: Your food choices matter

According to Manjari Chandra, author of ‘Eat Up, Clean Up’, “These are unprecedented times and humanity is going through situations and emotions that we have not experienced before. Uncertainty and loss of life, the fear and the pain that we as humans are experiencing in the present pandemic has led to people experiencing a lot of mental health issues and concerns. Anxiety and depression is a common emotion that many people feel and are unable to cope with.”

Besides using mindfulness, sunlight, deep breathing, creativity and connecting with people, the author points out that food also is a huge denominator of mental health. Her book “Eat Up, Clean Up” offers some practical tips on how to manage mental health by using food and nutrition principles and going back to traditional and home cooking.

She further recommends adding food sources such as “magnesium, omega 3 fats, B vitamins, vit D3, polyphenols and prebiotics and probiotics” in daily diet as an effective way of controlling anxiety levels.

“Gut health and gut microflora directly modulate mental health via the gut brain axis. Feeding your gut bacteria with fiber, unpolished grains, fruits, vegetables and good fats can effectively manage anxiety. Do not forget that your psychosomatic health is a play of the mind and body that work in perfect tandem and as a unit. Go ahead and smile!,” Manjari Chandra observes.

World Hypertension Day: Mindfulness can tackle stress, anxiety

A striking aspect of the problem with work from home and solitude is that our sense of relationship with our local community and in relation to those who inhabit our social circles is increasingly being muted to the extent that a constant negotiation of social dynamics is now playing itself out.

A cursory look at any of the social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – can send your stress levels soaring under the current circumstances.

How does one tackle these constantly changing dynamics and face the grim reality that sends hypertension levels soaring through the roof?

Shailaja Vishwanath, popular blogger and award winning social media coach tells Financial Express Online, “As far as stress reduction and habit building is concerned, I’d love for people to embrace the idea of mindfulness to help them deal with anxiety. Mindfulness helps us be aware of a challenging situation, knowing that we can’t change it through worry. Over daily, diligent practice, this will help us slowly observe the emotion without getting caught up in it. A very simple tip that will help is the one-minute meditation rule that I started practising a month ago. Every morning, I start my day with a one-minute mindfulness meditation. It’s tiny, it’s simple and you don’t need to prepare for it. The fact that it’s so tiny makes it easy to do and hard to miss.”

World Hypertension Day: Keep emotions in check

In the context of the second wave of the pandemic causing much grief and sorrow across the country, it is important to understand how mindfulness and meditation can sync with our work and life goals.

Building a daily routine that focuses on rising to challenges while embracing mindful living is the first step forward to nurturing a spirit of resilience.

Noted author Shubha Vilas says, “If emotions are in check, intelligence can function. If we can allow our intelligence to function, we can stop widespread panic. Panic is what raises the blood pressure. It’s a chain reaction set into motion by entangled emotions in absence of genuine faith. Rise to the challenge. Become part of the solution, not the problem. It’s a time to contribute to alleviate suffering. Time to give not take. When we reverse roles as givers, not takers, there seeps in a great sense of accomplishment touching our soul deep down. And that is when the body can transgress physical hurdles to rediscover wholesome health.”

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