Diet and exercise aren’t the only ways you can help prevent heart attack and stroke. Research shows that people who regularly practice meditation are significantly less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Although you may not be able to rid yourself of daily stressors, meditation may provide the mental shift you need to better prepare for life’s oncoming obstacles.
Meditating for a Healthy Mind
Meditation and mindfulness work hand-in-hand to induce a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. Mindfullness is the ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we’re doing. It is available to us in every moment, whether that’s through meditation or mindful moment practices like taking time to pause and breathe when the phone rings instead of rushing to answer it. Establishing a daily meditation practice can help calm your mind, thoughts and emotions. You may also experience sounder sleep, less anxiety and a more positive outlook on life.
Meditating for a Healthy Body
Meditation can help soothe nerves and help your body run as it should, rather than operate in a reflexive, stress-reduced shutdown mode. Some physical benefits associated with meditation include decreased inflammation, increased immunity, increased fertility, reduced symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and reduced arthritis symptoms.
Meditating for a Healthy Heart
When you’re having a stressful day or get overwhelmed, stress hormones called cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine are released throughout your body. These hormones accelerate your heart rate and blood pressure and prepare our bodies for the perceived challenges coming our way, also known as the “fight or flight” response. This stress can lead to kidney damage, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Meditation activates the body’s “rest and digest” functions, which counteracts our “fight or flight” responses. Incorporating meditation into your daily routine may help you lower your heart rate and blood pressure, which can lower your risk of heart disease.
Try it Out
Meditation is much simpler — and harder — than people think. When first starting out, itt can be difficult to concentrate on a single thing. With practice, you’ll see for yourself how your conentration will be sharpened and you’ll be able to control your mind without difficulty. Whether you’re doing mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation or tai chi, the basis of each form is to provide relaxed focus and quiet your mind.
Give meditation a try with this basic quick start guide.
- Sit quietly and close your eyes. Breathe slowly.
- Relax all of your muscles, starting with your feet, legs and thighs. Shrug your shoulders, roll your neck to the left and right.
- When thoughts come to mind, decide to come back to them later.
- Continue the exercise for at least 10 minutes. Repeat daily.
Establishing a routine to reap the full benefits of meditation may take some time, so don’t give up. Meditation is a practice, so don’t expect to master it on your first try. Your mind will wander, and that’s okay. The goal isn’t to always clear your mind, but to have a more peaceful, focused, present mindset. Eventually, you’ll be on the path to a healthier and more tranqui