Meditative Practice for a Healthy Heart

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Daily Meditation brings real benefits for heart disease and overall heart health

– Quick Overview –

  • The mind has a great influence over the heart. For us humans just thinking about a problem in the imagined future can trigger a stress reaction, which increases our heart rate and leads to high blood pressure

  • Over time a constant state of tension can lead to chronically elevated blood pressure, which is one of the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack, heart failure, or cardiac arrhythmia.

  • Daily Meditation makes us more resistant to stress reactivity and can thereby bring real benefits for our heart health

Why heart health is such a relevant issue

For a long time it has been known, that mental stress effects the heart.

Over time a constant state of tension can lead to high blood pressure, which is one of the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack, heart failure, or cardiac arrhythmia.

According to the German Heart Foundation heart disease is responsible for a quarter of all recorded deaths, making it one of Germany’s biggest killers.

When faced with an life-threatening attack, such as an approaching tiger, the ‘flight or fight’ responses effect on the heart enables us to fight back or run away with more efficiency.

The chemicals that flood the body during a stress response empty fat and sugar storage in the blood to provide us with immediate energy.

The increased heart rate enables a rapid circulation, so that blood can flow to areas, where it is most needed, such as the muscles of the legs, so we can run faster.

This automatic reaction of our nervous system has ensured our survival over thousands of years.

But what if the stressors, the triggers of the flight-or-fight response, are omnipresent and are not indicators for survival threats anymore?

In our day and age we find ourselves in a social environment that is complex, loud and extremely fast paced and therefore full of potential stress stimuli.

The complexity of our environment doesn’t match up with our brain programming anymore, which leaves the majority of us suffering under constant state of stress.

In addition we humans have the unique capacity to mentally project ourselves into an imagined future in order to evaluate the consequences of a specific action.

Although this mental capacity has many evolutionary benefits, it also means that the mere thought of a problem or a stressful situation in the future is enough to trigger a stress reaction in the now.

Over time, accumulated stress can result is chronically elevated blood pressure, which can have a damaging effect on the small vessels of the body.

When adrenaline and noradrenaline are begin released during a stress response, our heart starts to pump faster and our arteries constrict, leading to a higher blood pressure.

In addition, the stress chemicals make the blood viscous like honey.

Viscous blood saturated with fat and sugar supplies and narrow arteries can amount to a hazardous combination if the blood circulation becomes too slow or is completely obstructed from getting to an organ like the heart or the brain.

It is therefore no surprise, that even short-term stress, expressed for example in the emotion of anger, can double the risk for a heart attack during the successive two hours.

How a daily meditation practice can make a difference

Heart diseases pose a serious health threat and and if you are affected or recognize symptoms, you should seek the advice of a doctor.

Together with your doctor you can individually identify causes and risk factors.

If stress is a cause or risk factor in your life, a daily meditation practice can help.

It not only pacifies the nervous system and brings back equilibrium to body and mind, but also makes us more resistant to stress in the future.

But even if the cause lies somewhere else, our meditation courses can bring relief as a complementary treatment.

Too much stress can aggravate an already existing heart condition and enhance hypertension.

Against this background, the German Heart Foundation advises their readers not to lose sight of their emotional well-being and most importantly not to regard chronic stress in everyday life as immutable fact.

Daily Meditation can give us immunity to stress reactivity, so rather than just reacting to stress, we are able to interact with the world even in a stressful situation.

Thereby we gain the freedom to meet the demands that are being placed on us with a surplus of ease and calm, that not only benefits us mentally, but can also bring real benefits for our overall heart health.