Why meditation is good for your heart
Want to let go of stress? Take a few minutes each day to meditate. It can help improve your heart health by calming your mind.
Once primarily practiced as part of religious observations, today's medical practitioners recognize that meditation is an excellent way to deal with the modern-day problem of chronic stress. When you are stressed, your body releases hormones that cause your heart rate and blood pressure to rise. Over time, chronic stress can increase your risk for heart disease.
The American Heart Association recommends relaxation techniques such as meditation as one component of a healthy lifestyle. Meditation has been shown to help people manage stress and ease anxiety. It can also help you handle cancer, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, pain and sleeping difficulties.
Many people meditate to calm their minds and help them find balance in their lives. While meditation is not a substitute for medication, it's a great way to lower your stress and reduce the negative effects stress can have on your health. You can meditate just about anywhere and at any time of the day.
Take a deep breath and get started
There are many types of meditation, so find an approach you feel most comfortable with. To get started, experts suggest setting aside 10 minutes a day to practice meditation. As you feel more comfortable, increase the amount of time you spend meditating to 20 or 30 minutes.
One common meditation technique is called concentrative meditation, which involves focusing on a single point, such as your breathing or an object, or repeating a single word or mantra. The goal is to focus on that one thing for the entire session.
In another popular form of meditation, called mindfulness, you are encouraged to observe your wandering thoughts without allowing yourself to get involved with those thoughts.
If you're not sure what to do, you can find books about different techniques or take a class to help guide you.
Gundersen offers a four-week De-Stress class that uses meditative principles to help you learn to:
- Identify stressful life situations and handle their effects.
- Teach your body to deeply relax and recover from daily stress.
- Respond more skillfully to difficult changes in your life.
After learning how to cope with life's stressors, many report a feeling of increased energy, a sense of clarity, greater enthusiasm for life and increased self-esteem.
The next De-Stress class starts Sept. 18. Learn more about the class and how to sign-up for the De-Stress class.