So it’s the beginning of fall and life is probably in high gear. It’s officially the fourth quarter frenzy. Kids are back in school, the company is focused on meeting end-of-the-year expectations and the holidays are right down the block.

This productive time of year can also be accompanied with a lot of pressures. Often those pressures morph into an unhealthy zone and reveal themselves through our physical conditions. One of the most prominent dis-eases affecting our community as a result of these pressures is hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.

Hypertension is defined as a condition where the blood force against the artery walls is too high. Black adults have become twice as likely to develop hypertension by the age of 55 than white adults, according to Journal of American Heart Association. A lot of what is inherited in this condition is genetic, but stress and pressures in our environment can also send our blood pressure soaring.

Along with a healthy diet and regular blood pressure checks, here are some additional precautions you can take to make sure that your outside pressures don’t spill over into your health:

1. Breathe Baby Breathe! – No more “waiting to exhale” in your life. One thing we do during stressful moments is limit are breathing. Tense moments can cause us to become short of breath or to subconsciously take shorter breaths. Steadier breathing promotes steadier thought patterns. Allow you breathing to usher into a place of calmness and meditation.

2. Pump It Up!- Increasing your physical activity is another way to regulate blood pressure. Exercise strengthens the heart, causing it to pump blood more efficiently. This, in turn, reduces the pressure to the arteries. Make exercise a part of daily living.

3. Talk about it! – We all need and deserve a safe space to pour and to replenish. Whether that’s a local healing circle, a church prayer meeting or the journal you keep in your night stand, discover a place where you can be understood and shed those emotional layers. What we don’t talk about and undercover is sure to continue. You’d be surprised at how much honesty can relieve us.

4. Get enough sleep – According to Dr. Sheldon Sheps, emeritus professor of medicine and former chair of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension in the Department of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, people who get less than 5 hours of sleep a night may be at higher risk for hypertension. Sleeping helps you regulate stress hormones and assists in maintaining a healthy nervous system. Remember, sleep is for the strong.

In addition to eating an appropriate diet, consider these steps when it comes to preventing threats of high blood pressure. How we live and how we approach daily pressures are also a part of living a more holistic life.

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