Be mindful of your hearts health… meditation for a healthy heart

We’ve all heard of the common buzzwords ‘mindfulness’ and ‘meditation’. But did you know that by incorporating as little as 10 minutes a day into your daily routine can have positive impacts on your hearts health? Extensive research demonstrates that regular mindfulness and meditation training improves mood, quality of life, lowers stress levels; and reduces the risk of diabetes, strokes, and heart disease by 48%.

The goal of mindfulness is to help people be kinder to themselves and to develop the capacity to process, comprehend, and respond to thoughts and feelings in order to heighten self-awareness with the goal of reducing stress and managing daily wellbeing. Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism and meditation.

Whether you are having a stressful day at work, or overwhelmed with life’s daily challenges, stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine) are released into the body. These hormones then change forwards, accelerating heart rate and blood pressure – commonly known as ‘fight or flight’. The cardiovascular stress that is caused from this can potentially result in heart disease, heart attack, or strokes. Meditation and mindfulness practice activates the bodies ‘rest and digest’ system. This conserves the body’s natural activity; lowering blood pressure and breathing rate – counteracting the bodies ‘fight or flight’ response.

Mindful practices:

The best way to practice mindfulness is by making a habit of it and incorporating it into your daily routine. Anywhere you find calming is a good place to start practicing mindfulness, but try to keep to the same schedule and location. Being consistent in daily life can improve focus, productivity, and emotions of security. This is because having a schedule and knowing what to expect in advance keeps one grounded and present, as time is set aside for various activities throughout the day.

You can practice various techniques to increase your mindfulness:

  • Try giving your thoughts and emotions names; this might lighten the load they bare. It's important to examine and accept your feelings with compassion and without passing self-judgement.
  • Rejecting emotion is not the goal.
  • Remind yourself to remain mindful. It doesn't help you live in the now if you dwell on the past or worry about the future. Set yourself free.
  • Pay attention to your breathing; this might help you refocus on the present.

Getting started - breathing exercise:

  • Before anything else, pay attention to your thoughts, your feelings, your body sensations, and what is going on in the environment around you - try to do this frequently and consistently.
  • Sit quietly in a calming place, with your eyes closed.
  • Breathe in and out slowly, relaxing your muscles and clearing your mind.
  • Try adding peaceful, calming music if you cannot clear your mind in silence.
  • Concentrate on your breath as you inhale and exhale deeply.
  • Repeat this practice for 10 minutes per day.

      You can conduct your breathing exercises and mindfulness practice anywhere, but by utilising our advice and following your schedule, you can really make a success to the health of your heart. Has meditation made you more heart-healthy? Share your stories with us here.

      Key takeaways from this blog:

          • Multiple studies show that meditation and mindfulness, if practiced regularly, can have positive improvements to your hearts health.
          • By practicing for just 10 minutes a day, your heart rate will improve, stress reduce, and blood pressure lower.
          • Regular meditation lowers the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
          • Remind yourself to stay mindful, and live in the present.



          British Heart Foundation