Meditation is an antique practice – often using quiet contemplation, deep breathing or sustained focus on a phrase, color or sound – that helps an individual let goof stress and feel peaceful together with maintaining a relaxed state of mind.
People meditate for several reasons. For some it is a spiritual journey that has to do with expansion of awareness and perception of life. Some are interested in its benefits for health and general well-being. Others simply want to relax. Nowadays it is more often practiced to clear the mind and at the same time to ease many health concerns related to stress, including high blood pressure, anxiety and depression.
The positive effect of meditation comes from deep relaxation when both the body and mind are refreshed and revitalized. This yields many immediate, as well as long lasting health benefits, primarily for the heart. Some of them include:
Lowering blood pressure. A 2013 study showed that regular mindfulness-based stress reduction activities were able to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure over a period of 8 weeks.
Reducing stress and releasing feeling of tension. A 2015 study reported significant reduction of stress and anxiety after engaging in meditation for a few minutes a day over a period of time.
Improving sleep. Mindfulness meditation improves quality of sleep and can be used for treating insomnia.
Boosting the immune system. Researches at University of Wisconsin reported ‘demonstrable effects on brain and immune function’ after an 8-week period of meditation.
Reducing inflammation. Since chronic inflammation is involved in all stages of atherosclerosis, reducing inflammation is essential in heart disease. A study by Wisconsin-Madison University has found that meditation, adjunct to dietary and exercise programs, helps reduce underlying inflammatory processes.
Thus, by consistently practicing meditation you can reduce activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn reduces stress hormones, provides stress relief and dilates blood vessels, providing benefit to the heart. This practice can be done anywhere at any time, but complimentary to diet, exercise and prescribed medications, where applicable.