Meditation Is Good for Your Heart: Here's How
Meditation has long been promoted by practitioners of various health and fitness approaches. It has been around for centuries, practiced by many people in one form or another, but always with the goal of becoming mentally and spiritually aware of one's self. In recent studies, it has also been found that there may be a link between meditation and cardiovascular health.
Why Meditation is Good for Your Heart
Meditation is the act of using a mindfulness technique wherein a person focuses their mind on a specific thought, activity, object, or idea. The goal is to achieve mental clarity, physical relaxation, and emotional calmness. It helps promote a healthier heart by allowing gradual physiological changes in the body. Some of its most important benefits for the heart include:
Reduction of Stress and Anxiety
Although more research is necessary to identify exactly how stress could lead to heart disease, it has been proven time and again that high levels of anxiety can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. People who are constantly under stress, for example, are more likely to lack physical activity and overeat. There are also some people who smoke or drink to cope with stress.
When exposed to stressful situations, the human body releases a hormone known as adrenaline, which causes quicker breathing and increased heart rate. This, in turn, causes an increase in blood pressure. Frequent exposure to stress or chronic stress ultimately will affect the way the body reacts to similar situations, hence affecting heart health. Meditation teaches you to practice and master the difficult but beautiful art of letting go.
Deep Breathing for Oxygen Enrichment
Meditation requires controlled breathing to promote relaxation. The proper breathing technique used in meditation helps reduce tension, relax the muscles, and relieve anxiety. However, easily the most important benefit that deep breathing provides for heart health is the increased intake of oxygen into the body.
Controlled breathing, wherein air is released slowly, allows oxygen to be retained in the bloodstream longer. This is important for several reasons. For one, oxygen helps keep the organs functioning well and prevents conditions associated with low blood oxygen levels. When normal oxygen levels are maintained, the organs, particularly the brain, remain healthy.
Although meditation should never be considered the sole treatment for health issues, medical professionals agree that it should be used to modify one's lifestyle to promote self-awareness and self-care. When you are more aware of your body, you are more likely to take good care of yourself.
Is Meditation the Answer to Heart Health?
While research regarding the benefits of meditation to heart health is not definitive yet, the results have been suggestive of its positive effects. What is known is that meditation may help reduce the risks of developing heart disease and that regular practice could also minimize incidences of stroke or heart attack. Meditation remains a natural path and a positive approach to good health and well-being. It's also free, does not require special training or equipment, and can promote both mental and physical relaxation. As far as the heart is concerned, these are all beneficial.