Mindfulness, spirituality and heart health
We know that many of you pray or meditate daily and you have probably noticed that it can help to reduce anxiety, improve your mood and give you hope in times of difficulty. But you might not know that it can also boost your heart health! Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, tells us how you can use mindfulness to stay heart-healthy.
How does mindfulness help our heart?
Nurse Rose: A number of studies in recent years have shown that mindfulness can improve your heart health by helping you:
- Manage stress
- Lower your blood pressure
- Improve circulation and blood flow
- Motivate you to stick to healthy behaviors like a healthy diet, adequate sleep and exercise
What does mindfulness mean?
Nurse Rose: Mindfulness refers to paying attention to moment-by-moment experiences and silencing the mind by focusing on one repetitive thought or task. This could include:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Moving meditations like yoga or tai chi or repetitive movement exercises like riding a bike, swimming laps or walking
How can someone who has never meditated start a routine?
Nurse Rose: Try this mindfulness meditation at home or in the office.
- Sit quietly and close your eyes. Breathe slowly.
- Relax all of your muscles, beginning with your feet, legs, and thighs.
- Shrug your shoulders and roll your neck to the left and then right.
- With each exhale, say a word or phrase out loud or to yourself.
- When your thoughts wander, simply go back to repeating the pattern, and focus on your breath.
- Start with repeating this for two minutes and work up to 10 minutes.