6 ways to stay focused, boost energy and live longer
High blood pressure is a risk factor for a heart attack or a stroke yet, according to the British Heart Foundation, as many as 5 million people in the UK go about their daily business with undiagnosed high blood pressure.
Worse than that, in a survey that we conducted with over 300 people, we discovered that more than 75% of them had high blood pressure, a real danger sign for the state of their physical health. We were shocked.
Most people appreciate that living with high levels of stress contributes to high blood pressure but what's really frightening is that so many people don't know they're living with unsafe stress levels every single day.
Here's how we'd advise anyone who regularly encounters stressful situations and who could be risking high blood pressure or even more serious consequences for their health.
1. Get tested.
Even if you don't feel particularly stressed, our bodies are quite often under stress when we're busy with many things at once, rushing around and eating on the go. The only way you'll know if your lifestyle is taking a toll on your long-term health is to get your blood pressure checked.
2. Get tested regularly.
Some stress, at some times can be a good thing. It can bring out the best in us. However, too much stress for too long can cause health issues. You must monitor what's going on with your body at regular intervals and never let abnormal readings persist for too long.
3. Get some perspective.
High blood pressure is an early warning for possible major health implications. It may feel good to live on stress and nervous energy for now, but it won't help you in the long run. And who says living this way is actually getting the best out of you anyway? How do you know you won't be more effective if you manage your stress better on a day-to-day basis?
Think about it. Could you be doing things differently, more efficiently, living happier and feeling better every day?
There's only one way to find out and that's to experiment with some new approaches and see what results you get. Here are a few simple lifestyle changes that have a huge positive impact on your health but also, crucially, on how you feel, from the moment you get up to the time you go to bed.
1. Make sure you eat
Sounds obvious but so many people are just too busy or they don't make food a priority. Then they suddenly realise that it's 6pm and they haven't had any food all day. If you don't fuel your body with food, you'll need regular bursts of adrenalin to keep going. Too much adrenalin in your system, for too long, will stress your system and raise your blood pressure.
A steady intake of food throughout the day means your body works with good energy rather than adrenalin, and you keep your blood pressure steady.
2. Watch your caffeine intake
Drinking caffeine is like taking a quick hit of adrenalin into your system. Do this too often and your system becomes stressed trying to rebalance the amount of adrenalin in your bloodstream.
Too much caffeine can also impair your ability to focus and get things done which means physical stress can also become mental stress. Stick with a maximum of two cups of coffee or tea a day.
3. Avoid processed foods and sugary snacks
Meals and snacks containing lots of sugar cause your blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. If your blood sugar levels rise too high, too often, your system has to continually produce insulin to counteract this. Too much of this each day stresses your body.
Instead eat natural products, wholemeal carbohydrates and make sure you always have some protein with every meal or snack. Eating this way releases energy into the system slowly and helps maintain a stable environment.
If you need any extra incentive to make these changes part of your regular routine, there’s also a weight management factor to consider. A body under stress will not use food effectively or burn calories efficiently. This will lead to weight gain or difficulty in losing unwanted pounds.
So remember the stress reduction / weight management top tips:
1. Eating the right foods regularly means you won't suffer from a slow metabolism or hang on to unnecessary body fat.
2. Minimising caffeine creates stable fat burning conditions in your body.
3. Avoiding excess sugar means you won't consume too many calories each day.