Learning to Take a Step Back: Managing Anxiety and Hypertension with Meditation
Suffering from hypertension in addition to an anxiety disorder can feed into your anxious thoughts and prevent you from maintaining a sense of stability in your life. Through a residential treatment program that takes into account the relationship between hypertension and anxiety, you can use the benefits of meditation to promote healing through tranquility, restoring a sense of balance in your life.
Living with an anxiety disorder can make you feel like the world is too much, too fast, too exhausting. You have days where you wake up in a panic for no reason whatsoever, and some where feelings of fear accompany you everywhere you go. On those days, the smallest setbacks—being a few minutes late for work, forgetting to introduce a friend at a party—induce feelings of unbearable panic and overwhelm. To make matters worse, you may also be suffering from hypertension, or abnormally high blood pressure. As if having intense anxiety wasn’t enough, hypertension can make your heart feel like it’s racing, ready to burst right out of your chest, and that can make your anxiety worse.
For those who live with anxiety and hypertension, meditation isn’t just a benefit—it’s a necessity. It can help you reach a state of calm focus, and put you in a place where you can collect your thoughts and temporarily live in a single moment—a moment that exists outside of your anxiety and hypertension. In a world dominated by deadlines, meditation is an opportunity to step back from the restlessness that drives your life.
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The Relationship Between Hypertension and Anxiety
Elevated heart rate is one of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety. Once anxiety kicks in, your heart rate increases, and you experience a state of heightened arousal, one that can temporarily increase your heart rate, and can, in the long term, increase your risk of hypertension. The link between these two phenomena is a two-way street—people with anxiety disorders are more likely to have hypertension, and those with hypertension are more likely to have anxiety.
Researchers don’t know exactly how they affect one another, but they do know that they’re connected, and that means it’s an overlap worth taking into consideration if you’re thinking of entering a residential treatment program.“Early detection and management of anxiety in hypertensive patients” is essential: otherwise, anxiety could exacerbate unchecked high blood pressure levels—or vice versa.
Using Meditation to Reconnect with the Present
Meditation encourages a focus on the “now:” the thoughts, emotions, and sensations you’re feeling in the present moment. The idea is that, by focusing on these things, you give yourself permission to enter a state of mind in which you don’t have to worry about either the past or the future. It’s a theory supported by research: one study revealed that a mindfulness meditation training program decreased symptoms of both panic and anxiety. These effects weren’t just temporary: even after treatment, these decreases were maintained. Another study found that Transcendental Meditation in particular has the potential to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Meditation isn’t just an alternative or nontraditional treatment option; it’s a legitimate practice backed by considerable research.
When you live with anxiety, you can find yourself spending an excessive amount of time worrying about the past, the future, and just about everything in between. Did I make a total fool of myself in front of my boss yesterday? How am I going to meet next week’s project deadline? What if I don’t meet it, and then I get fired? It’s a constant cycle of second-guessing. Meditation can help you get out of that cycle by homing in on what you’re feeling in each present moment, so that you can learn to control the anxious thoughts that dominate your mind day in and day out. It’s a long-term solution that you can have at your disposal during treatment and beyond: a prolonged investment in your own wellness.
Healing Through Tranquility
Confusion, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing—all of these can stem from both anxiety and hypertension. If you suffer from both, they can feed off of one another to throw your mind and your blood pressure into overdrive. Without the proper help, it can feel like you’re trapped within a cycle, a feedback loop you can’t seem to find a way out of.
During concurrent treatment for anxiety and hypertension, meditation can help you learn to focus on the present moment and give you relief during moments of perpetual overdrive. Through a residential program that treats the whole person, you’ll have access to an individualized treatment plan that will help you manage your anxiety and hypertension in a way that prevents them from triggering one another. Then, you’ll have a lifelong tool that offers passage into a place where you can temporarily gather your thoughts and regain your focus, promoting a sense of tranquility that pushes your fears and anxieties into the background.
Bridges to Recovery offers a number of treatment options that utilize the benefits of meditation for people suffering from an anxiety disorder and hypertension, as well as other co-occurring mental health disorders, substance abuse, or process addictions. Reach out to break out of the feedback loop of anxiety and hypertension by taking advantage of the calming effects of meditation and restore serenity to your life.
Lead Image Source: Unsplash User Matthew Henry