You don’t need to go far to find someone you know who’s struggling with hypertension, note commonly known as high blood pressure. There’s a family member, friend, or colleague you know who’s been on medication for a while. Two or three decades ago, it was common among the older folks, but now it looks like the younger generation has been hit.
Many times high blood pressure is hereditary, but in recent times our lifestyle is to blame. We are a generation “on the go.” As early as 4 a.m., with barely five hours of sleep, many people are up and spending lots of time on the Internet and social media.
We grab a muffin and a cup of coffee and hit the road. With no regular exercise or healthy breakfast, the day goes on and we have a ham sandwich or hotdog for lunch. We claim there’s no time for a proper lunch, so we eat whatever is quick and available. Eventually, our cholesterol levels rise and our blood sugar needs some intervention.
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We return home after sitting at our office desks for hours with a quick meal we toss into the oven. We snack on a lot of processed junk and fizzy drinks. Many are overweight or morbidly obese. We know we should do something about it, but we continue to procrastinate. Many people set out at the beginning of the year to lose weight, eat healthy, and remain fit, but then half of the year is gone and we are yet to set foot in a gym or stop eating junk.
The young African is very ambitious and with that comes a lot of anxiety to be the best and accomplish lofty goals. We set unrealistic goals and can’t sleep when we fall behind these deadlines. Just because a colleague who is forty is married with two kids, owns his house, and has a great business, it doesn’t mean that’s the path for me.
We all have different strengths and weaknesses; we cope with stress differently and have different purposes in life. There’s no harm in having great goals in life for yourself, your family, or career, but as long as we continue to compare ourselves with others and compete to outdo the other person, our blood pressure will continue to rise.
Society has subtly defined some milestones that make many African millennials feel like there’s a race against time to accomplish every one. Don’t keep up with the Joneses – whatever you see on social media isn’t the full gist as people don’t tell you everything. They post the expensive mansions and flashy cars, but they don’t tell you they are on blood pressure medications or that they struggle with depression.
Let’s be true to ourselves and live our lives according to God’s plan. Having an ambition only to be the best and make all the cash to spend on ourselves and are families is very selfish. Let’s look out for opportunities to be a blessing to those around us and in our communities. Generosity and service has been shown to be a great way to reduce stress and related illnesses.
Let’s stay content and live life simply, enjoying every moment and not always living in the future. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saving and investing for the future, but when our health is impacted, we need to stop and take a different direction. At the end of our life’s journey, it won’t be the quantity of junk we have gathered but the quality of life we’ve lived and the legacy we’ve left behind that we will be remembered – and judged – for.