If you’re feeling too stressed out to hit the gym, or don’t have enough time to prepare a delicious and healthy snack, we have got you covered! Meditation is one simple tactic you can perform that will keep your nerves at ease and keep your heart healthy.
One study from the American Journal of Cardiology examined data from over 61,000 adults that participated in the National Health Interview Survey from 2012 to 2017; the study showed that almost 10 percent practiced meditation.
In comparison to the individuals that did not meditate, those who did experienced several heart health benefits, primarily
- 49 percent lower risk of coronary artery disease
- 24 percent lower risk of stroke
- 30 percent lower risk of 2 diabetes
- 14 percent lower risk of high blood pressure
- 35 percent lower risk of high cholesterol
Albeit the study shows a clear association between better heart health and meditation, several limitations still exist. One of the biggest drawbacks of the study is that researchers lacked data on the type of meditation performed, knowing that different forms have different benefits. Researchers also lacked data on how frequently people meditated and for how many months or years, which may also impact health benefits.
Several previous studies have also linked meditation to a decrease in several risk factors for heart attacks and strokes, including high blood pressure and increased cholesterol, in addition to better-controlled blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.
General consensus exist that reducing psychological distress, anxiety, depression, and anger or hostility can all play a great role in preventing heart disease and other chronic illnesses. When our nervous systems are exposed to stress, the body’s fight-or-flight response is triggered causing a surge in stress hormones and inflammatory chemicals in the body as well as spikes in heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption.
If you are enthusiastic on trying meditation for your heart’s health – follow these simple steps to get started:
- Find a calm and quiet place to sit
- If you’re just starting aim for a short time such as five or 10 minutes
- Pay attention to your body. You can sit the way you like, just make sure you are in a position that will allow you to sit still in for a while
- Focus on your breath as it goes in and out
- Notice when you mind begins to wander. When it does simply return your attention to the breath
- When your mind begins to wander; do not judge yourself over the content of thoughts, simply go back to focusing on your breath
- Finish with kindness; when you feel ready, gently lift up your gaze, and notice the world around you