High blood pressure: One pleasant experience that can lower stress and your reading
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Stress management is essential for everyday niggles that could build up, and up, and up – until you feel like you could explode – and that’s not ideal for your blood pressure. Not learning to effectively manage your stress levels could result in an early heart attack or even death. Researchers looked into ways you could reduce tension to lower your blood pressure reading.
Based at Ramaiah Medical College, India, scientists explored whether listening to music could be beneficial – and how much so.
A total of 100 participants – who were on the borderline of hypertension, or already at stage one – were involved in the trial.
For three months, half of the participants listened to 15 minutes of music daily, at least five times per week.
Both groups – whether they listened to music or not – also underwent lifestyle modifications.
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The researchers measured heart rate variability, blood pressure readings, and stress levels.
Group one reported a “significant reduction in stress levels” and the music was shown to help relax the nervous system.
Building on this piece of research, a meta-analysis – overviewing various studies – demonstrated the same finding.
Scientists from the Health Sciences Institute, Brazil, found that “music resulted in improvement in systolic blood pressure”.
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It’s for this reason that the scientists concluded that music “should be considered as a component of care [for] hypertensive patients”.
Medical News Today confirmed that “stress is a key driver of high blood pressure”.
When your body is in fight-or-flight mode (triggered by stress), the heart is beating faster and blood vessels constrict.
These two elements – a faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels – contribute to even higher blood pressure.
Other effective stress management techniques include deep breathing and meditation.
These practices are thought to “activate the parasympathetic nervous system”.
When the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged, the body relaxes, the heart rate slows down, and blood pressure reduces.
Taking six deep and slow breaths has been shown to be more effective at lowering your blood pressure than just sitting still.
Another very useful stress management technique is to get your body moving.
Whether it’s riding a bike, going for a brisk walk, jogging, or dancing to your favourite music, activity can lower blood pressure in the long term.
The NHS recommends everybody to do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week.
This can be broken down into three 10-minute periods of activity.
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