How Meditation Helps Your Heart
Breathe in… Breathe out… Silencing your mind and focusing on your breathing to escape the chaos of the world seems like a great way to take some time for your mental health, and it is! Believe it or not, meditating is good for your heart health too.
The practice of meditation dates back to 5,000 BCE and spreads across multiple religions and cultures – and it is still widely practiced today. By the 18th century, meditation was more widely practiced in western cultures and is often incorporated into western medicine too! So, what does this have to do with your heart?
Meditation and Your Heart
Think about how you feel when you are stressed. Your heartrate starts to increase, your mind races, maybe you start to sweat a bit. This is all because your body is releasing hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine, also known as “stress hormones”. These hormones initiate your body’s fight-or-flight response which raises your heartrate and blood pressure. If you are frequently exposed to an increased heartrate and blood pressure due to stress, it can increase your chances of heart disease, heart attack, kidney damage, etc. This is where meditation comes into play.
Meditation can be guided or self-led, but the premise is to focus on the present and allow your body to relax and escape stressful thoughts. Mindful meditation gives your heart some time to rest, encouraging a slower heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. Incorporating meditation into your daily routine is a healthy way to cope with stress and trains your body to confront stress in a calm and healthy manner. Meditation reduces the production of those stress hormones that cause your body to fall into that fight-or-flight reaction – ultimately leading to a healthier heart.
Studies have shown that regular meditation practice can increase your heart rate variability (HRV). In other words, meditation can improve how your heart can make adjustments or reactions between beats. Higher HRV decreases risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
The Bottom Line
Incorporating meditation into your daily life can not only help you mentally, but also physically. Lowering your heart rate and blood pressure can decrease your risk of developing heart disease and other heart conditions.
If you would like to talk to a cardiologist about things that you should do in your daily life to improve your heart health, give us a call. Huntington Heart Center is committed to making sure all of our patients have the resources and support necessary to maximize their health and well-being.