What’s good for the mind also tends to be good for the heart, and the mind-calming practice of meditation may play a role in reducing your risk of heart disease, according to a scientific statement published in the September Journal of the American Heart Association.
Experts reviewed dozens of studies published over the past two decades, and found that meditation may improve a host of factors linked with heart disease — making it worth including in an overall program for ongoing heart care. “Not only can meditation improve how your heart functions, but a regular practice can enhance your outlook on life and motivate you to maintain many heart-healthy behaviors, like following a proper diet, getting adequate sleep, and keeping up regular exercise,” says Dr. John Denninger, director of research at the Harvard-affiliated Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Meditation involves sitting comfortably with closed eyes and focusing on breathing, a mental image, or repetition of a single positive word or phrase. The goal is to keep the mind focused on the present: away from stressful or distracting thoughts. As your mind becomes calm, so too does your body.