Keeping a healthy blood pressure balance
Meik Wiking, Mood expert and CEO of the Research Institute of Happiness gives the lowdown on how a happy life leads to a healthy life.
A recent survey by Braun found that nearly two thirds (63%) of UK adults* admit they are either stressed or fairly stressed. Stress can often have the biggest impact on our lives and not only affects our mood but also our health, with stress being a contributing factor to increasing blood pressure.
As we approach the winter months and the happy summer thoughts begin to disappear our minds turn to the looming winter blues. It has been scientifically proven that the shorter, darker days and lack on sunlight can have a huge impact on our mood. The medical term for this is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). So, what can we do to help lift our mood and keep us happy and healthy during the winter months?
Three ways to boost mood and beat off the blues
1. Get outside and see the light
It can be tempting in the cold months to spend time indoors, snuggled under a blanket. Although this may feel comforting, don’t forget the importance of the sun in producing vitamin D. In the winter UV levels from the sun are much lower and warm clothes mean less of your body is exposed. To ensure we get the level of Vitamin D we need, in the winter months many of us could need up to two hours a day outside – compared with just 10-20 minutes in the summer. According to research, people with low vitamin D are up to 11 times more prone to depression than people with normal levels of the vitamin. Therefore, to keep your mood positive, make sure you spend time outside or think about taking vitamin D supplements if that’s not possible.
2. Keep warm
Did you know that the optimum temperature advised for your home is between 18 – 21 degrees Celsius according to the NHS ? Many patients who suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) report to feeling cold – so keep an eye on room temperature and add layers if you need. Being cold can also make you more susceptible to certain illnesses as a lower body temperature can play a role in suppressing the immune system too.
3. Keep active and social
Exercise has been medically proven to improve mental health, with an active lifestyle being shown to help people with conditions such as depression, anxiety and ADHD. As the days draw in and the weather becomes cooler, feeling motivated to go to the gym or head out for a run can be less appealing. However, exercise can be just what we need when we’re feeling low, with activity releasing the chemicals such as endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin which are all responsible for regulating mood. If you’re lacking motivation, why not join a running group or sign up for a series of exercise classes? It’s much harder to drop out if it means letting others down – and the social element can really help boost mood too!
Healthy mind, healthy body
Adopting these strategies to help boost your mood and keep your mind feeling happy will also have a positive effect on your overall health too. By lifting your spirits and reducing stress in your life, you will be reducing your risk of developing health conditions such as high blood pressure.
Stress can contribute to high blood pressure or hypertension, as it is also known. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure then regular monitoring is important tool to help you keep a track, particularly during the winter months when your mood and physical wellbeing might be affected by the changes in weather.
By making blood pressure monitoring part of your at-home health checks, with an easy to use wrist or arm monitor, it can help you to identify triggers and allow you to immediately make simple adjustments to significantly improve your health, mood and wellbeing.
Easy and convenient to use, Braun’s blood pressure monitors help you easily understand your heart’s health at a single glance. And syncing your readings with the free Braun Healthy Heart app on your smartphone or tablet is effortless. It allows you to review your blood pressure data clearly in simple charts and graphs. Alongside your blood pressure readings, you can also log your sleep, diet and exercise as well as tracking your mood and stress levels to help build up a larger picture of your wellbeing. The app can then help you understand the impact of your lifestyle on your blood pressure.
Most cases of high blood pressure can be addressed and reduced by making small and simple adjustments. Knowing what triggers blood pressure spikes, through regular monitoring, is the first step to making long-lasting changes that will improve your heart and overall health.
With these simple tools and some easy adjustments to keep stress levels at bay, you can beat the winter blues and discover a happy and healthy you!
*Research of 3,000 adults across Europe conducted by 3GEM Research and Insights on behalf of Braun, 2018