Research indicates that we are spending about 47% of our waking moments thinking about something other than what we are doing in that moment. This constant mind wandering can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety which can have a negative impact on cardiovascular health.
In fact, new research from Michigan Technological University suggests an hour of mindfulness meditation can reduce anxiety and positively impact cardiovascular health—in particular, blood pressure.
In another study from the International Journal of Yoga, a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program was proven effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, perceived stress, blood pressure and body mass index in patients with Coronary Heart Disease. The therapeutic program included training in different variants of mindfulness meditation such as body scan meditation, sitting meditation, mindful walking, mindful eating, 3-min breathing space, mastery and pleasure activities and cognitive restructuring.
With any newly learned habit, it takes time, patience, and practice to learn meditation and build confidence in your ability. I highly recommends that you take baby steps and give yourself space to progress at your own speed.
Meditation Made Simple
There are many different styles and approaches to meditation, but here is a simple routine to begin with.
- Sit quietly and close your eyes. Breathe slowly.
- Relax all of your muscles, beginning with your feet, legs, and thighs.
- Shrug your shoulders and roll your neck to the left and then right.
- When your thoughts wander (and they will), don’t get discouraged. Simply go back to repeating the pattern.
- Continue for five to 10 minutes.
One method to stay consistent in learning and practicing meditation with a group or class, so you could inquire about meditation classes at Strata Integrate Wellness Center, yoga studios or even follow meditation exercises online. Meditation can be yet another way to improve heart health and at the same time help ease your mind.
By Charlene Wang MS, RD, HTP
Meditation Could Help Anxiety and Cardiovascular Health. (n.d.). https://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2018/april/meditation-could-help-anxiety-and-cardiovascular-health.html
Parswani, M., Sharma, M. and Iyengar, S. (2019). Mindfulness-based stress reduction program in coronary heart disease: A randomized control trial.