If there was one simple drug-free thing you could do that would improve your health and make you look and feel younger, would you do it? There is, and you should.
According to the American Heart Association, practicing mindfulness and meditation can help you manage stress and lower your blood pressure, improve sleep, and even help you live longer by lowering your risk of heart disease.
Meditation and mindfulness are practices — often using breathing, quiet contemplation, or sustained focus on something, such as an image, phrase, or sound — that help you let go of stress and feel calmer and more peaceful. Stress is your body’s natural alarm system.
It releases an adrenaline hormone that speeds up your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. It kicks us into action, which can be good when faced with a real danger or need to perform.
But that “fight or flight” response can take a toll on your body when it goes on too long or is a regular occurrence. Mindfulness meditation provides a method for handling stress more healthily.
Recent studies have offered promising results about the impact of meditation in reducing blood pressure. Evidence shows it can help people manage insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
- Recent research suggests that meditation physically changes the brain and could help:
- Increase ability to process information
- Slow the cognitive effects of aging
- Reduce inflammation
- Support the immune system
- Reduce symptoms of menopause
- Control the brain’s response to pain
- Improve sleep
There are different types of meditation, and the research does not seem to indicate that any type is better than the other in delivering these benefits. In fact, it could be as simple as sitting quietly and focusing on your breath.
If you feel your mind start to wander, gently bring it back by focusing on breathing again. Gradually increase the amount of time you’re able to stay focused. If you’re unsure how to get started, look for online classes on meditation, get recommendations from friends, or research different types that interest you.