In the age of “always on”, finding relief from modern-day stressors is a must. Studies show that meditation not only helps us calm our busy minds, but also can impact physical aspects of our health such as blood pressure. What’s the connection? Experts say it has to do with stress and the physiological toll it can take on your body if left unchecked.
Stress signals your body to be on high-alert and in response releases adrenaline, which causes your heart rate and blood pressure to rise. Eons ago, this type of fight or flight response was necessary for survival. But today, it can have negative effects on our health if we are in a stressed state all the time.
In a study published by the American Journal of Hypertension, results from a randomized controlled trial showed that subjects who participated in transcendental meditation saw a reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure by ∼4.7 and 3.2 mm Hg, respectively, compared to the control group.
Other studies have looked at both mindfulness and non-transcendental meditation forms, where subjects saw a noticeable change in their blood pressure.
If the science shows that meditation is good for healthy blood pressure, why aren’t more people raving about it? Put simply, meditation can be hard to practice for most people, especially if you have a demanding work & family life. If you fall into the category of people who’ve tried meditation and thought it wasn’t for them, here’s our recommendation:
- Start by blocking off 10 minutes of your day to your meditation practice. The key is to choose a time where you’re most likely to stay consistent. It could be first thing in the morning, during a lunch break or before bedtime.
- Find a quiet space—indoors or outdoors and a comfortable seat.
- Set your timer.
- Close your eyes and take deep breaths in and out. It’s normal for your mind to wander. When you notice, bring your awareness back to your breath.
- Do this for 10 minutes before moving on with your day.
Little by little after practicing this daily, it will become easier. If you find you need more support, fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there that make meditation easier than ever—such as apps, Youtube videos and podcasts.
There are also many types of meditation practices, and all have slightly different benefits. The main takeaway is to pick one that resonates with you so that you are more likely to stay consistent.
There’s no “right” way to meditate. Sometimes you’ll be busy-minded, other days you’ll have more focus. The key is to show up and maintain consistency.
Over time, in combination with healthy diet and exercise, you too can experience the many health benefits that meditation has to offer.