Similar to diabetes, heart disease disproportionately affects Black/African Americans. According to the American Heart Association, the prevalence of high blood pressure among African Americans is the highest in the world. And like diabetes, high blood pressure is associated with lifestyle behaviors such as healthy eating and physical activity. Although research indicates that we are predisposed to salt sensitivity, it is my belief that high blood pressure among Black/African Americans has to do with more than healthy eating, physical activity, and salt sensitivity. High blood pressure among our people has to do with our daily struggles of being Black in America and living in a racialized society. Navigating through the various forms of racism and discrimination elicits unnecessary chronic stress and literally chips away at our livelihood. And so while we can’t change the fact that God saw fit to bless us with chocolate, mahogany, caramel complexioned melinated skin (I mean why would you, BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL), we must learn to better cope with the racism and discrimination that we daily face.
Empowering individuals and communities to find various healthy ways to cope with the being Black in America is important. A people grounded in spirituality we often find our faith as an outlet to the daily stresses of being Black in America, through prayer and meditation. In addition to prayer and meditation, other forms of coping strategies include exercise, yoga, deep breathing exercises, etc. Our socials interactions with our family and friends who understand the struggle can serve an outlet and good social supports to help us reduce our stress. You can beat stress naturally through very simple strategies that are beneficial to your health and well-being.
Being a fur-mommy to two small dogs, my personal favorite ways to beat the stress that comes with being Black in America include walking my dogs in the evening while taking a moment to appreciate the nights stars and moon (I am big time moon and star gazer).
Share some coping strategies that you’d recommend to keep our stress levels in check while being Black in America.