There’s more to heart attack and stroke prevention than medications, exercise, and diet. The latest research confirms that people who practice meditation are significantly less likely to have a heart attack or stroke or die within five years.
Benefits of meditation
Meditation can be a useful part of cardiovascular risk reduction. Along with diet and exercise, it can also help decrease the sense of stress and anxiety.
Meditation appears to produce changes in brain activity. It also can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress.
Types of meditation
There are many types of meditation that can result in physiological benefits. Here are some of the major types:
- Guided meditation – which uses mental images to help you relax.
- Transcendental meditation – which uses a repeated sound or phrase to help you empty your mind.
- Mindfulness meditation – which focuses on the present moment and helps you to accept it without judgment.
Quick easy way to start meditation
Getting started is easy. Just 10 minutes a day can potentially produce physiological benefits.
- Sit quietly and close your eyes. Breathe slowly.
- Relax all of your muscles, starting with your feet, legs, and thighs. Shrug your shoulders, roll your neck to the left and right.
- On each “out” breath, say the word “peace.”
- When thoughts come to mind, decide to come back to them later, and repeat the word “peace.”
- Continue the exercise for at least 10 minutes. Repeat daily.