Each day, as you try to manage your life’s hectic pace, perhaps you pause from time to time to collect yourself. Those precious moments of peace can do wonders for your state of mind. By taking them to the next level and meditating, you may lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Scientists have studied meditation and cardiovascular health and the results have been promising. One study found African American adults with coronary heart disease significantly lowered their risk of having a stroke or heart attack through meditation. A Swedish study found mindfulness-based stress reduction alleviated mental fatigue after a stroke.
The American Heart Association has evaluated research on the effect of meditation on brain structure and function, stress, blood pressure, myocardial ischemia and other conditions. The AHA concluded the studies suggest real benefits and encouraged more research.
Meditation can provide your nervous system with resilience, so you don’t find yourself reacting to triggers as much, leaving you feeling calmer. Some have reported lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which help prevent cardiovascular disease. Scientists say people who experience less mental fatigue are more likely to make changes such as eating healthier, becoming more active and taking better care of themselves overall.
You don’t need expensive equipment or a huge time commitment, either. Simply sit comfortably, close your eyes and repeat a mantra — a word or sound or short phrase. It may take some getting used to, but you’ll quiet your internal soundtrack and slip into a relaxed state. Give yourself about 10 to 20 minutes, you’re worth it. And it may help you live longer.