Can a calm mind lead to a healthier heart? In addition to reduced anxiety, increased focus, and a boost in overall happiness, meditation and mindfulness can also have a positive impact on your heart health. According to a recent scientific statement by the Journal of the American Heart Association, the mind-calming practice of meditation may help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Having a consistent meditation practice can help you cope with stress, help you relax, calm your mind, and improve your heart health. Through reviewing dozens of studies performed over the last two decades, researchers found meditation has helped with a number of factors linked with heart disease including lower blood pressure and lower stress levels. One study showed 15-minutes of meditation a day reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death by 48 percent.
As with any new practice, it may take time to find a routine that works for you. Set aside 5-minutes just a few times a week for meditation, then gradually increase the time and frequency until you’re comfortable with daily sessions up to 15-minutes.
Meditation techniques to try:
- Moving meditation: Yoga and tai chi are popular forms of moving meditations that emphasize slow movements, controlled breathing, and mental focus. Check out a local studio or pick a yoga routine on sites like Gaia or Youtube that can be done at home.
- Seated meditation: Sit quietly in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly. Beginning with your feet and working up towards your shoulders, focus on each group of muscles and relax them with each breath. Once you’ve reached your shoulders, roll your neck gently from side to side. Focus on your breathing throughout this process. When your mind begins to wander, which can happen, do not feel discouraged. Simply bring your focus back to your inhales and exhales. Continue for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Guided meditation: Listening to a soothing, directive voice allows you to focus on the present while relaxing body and mind. Apps like Headspace and numerous sites online allow for guided meditation anytime, anywhere.
There is no “right” way to meditate. Try different techniques to find one that works best for you. If you are looking for more ways to reduce stress, visit your local Relax The Back location to speak with our trained associates. They can recommend a number of product solutions that can help you reduce stress, feel better, and live a healthier, more fulfilling life.