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Is Meditation Good for Your Heart?

Mindfulness, meditation and heart health are intimately connected. Practicing meditation techniques like breathing, quiet contemplation or sustained focus on something (e.g., an image, phrase or sound), can not only help you let go of your stress and help you feel calmer, but it can also help you sleep better, feel more balanced, manage high blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, accounting for approximately 655,000 deaths each year.

Meditation and heart health

Can you lower your risk of heart disease with a daily practice of meditation? Is there a connection between meditation and heart rate?

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), yes. Meditation activates our bodies’ “rest and digest” functions, which is linked to a lower heart rate. Meditation techniques may also slightly lower blood pressure levels when used alone or along with medication.

Transcendental meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, in particular, may produce clinically significant reductions in systolic (measured pressure when the heart beats) and diastolic (measured pressure when the heart rests in between beats) blood pressure.

Transcendental meditation (TM) refers to a specific form of silent, mantra meditation that eliminates distracting thoughts and promotes a state of relaxed awareness. It involves sitting comfortably with your eyes closed for about 20 minutes twice per day. Mindfulness-based stress reduction is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to assist people with stress, anxiety, depression and pain.

While these two programs have clinically significant results for lowering blood pressure and heart rate, meditation practice of any kind can have many mental and physical health benefits, especially when it becomes a part of your daily routine.

Heart-healthy benefits of meditation

The link between meditation and heart health is clear. Here are three science-based health benefits of meditation:

  1. Reduces stress
    Stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation. In addition to being a great way to improve sleep quality and lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety, meditation is an effective tool for decreasing blood pressure.
  2. Controls anxiety
    Stress is a gateway to anxiety. Try meditating to reduce stress levels and lessen symptoms of anxiety. For added heart benefits, try combining meditation with positive self-statements and yoga.
  3. Promotes emotional wellness
    Meditation can lead to improved self-image and a more positive outlook on life, which will help reduce feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. Meditation may also reduce depression by decreasing the level of cytokines in your body. These inflammatory chemicals are released in response to stress, can affect mood and lead to depression.

If you’re concerned about your heart health, visit Coastal Urgent Care of Baton Rouge and ask about our EKG test. We provide comprehensive care and onsite diagnostic technology, like an echocardiogram (EKG) so we can measure your heart activity quickly and painlessly. We also have an onsite lab for blood tests to save time when you need answers. We welcome walk-in appointments Mon-Fri, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sat-Sun 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.