Meditation has been repeatedly shown to have many benefits, both for physical and mental health.

More specifically, it’s been linked to the prevention of heart disease in the way that it regulates your body’s responses to stress.

It’s these negative responses to stress that put you at risk for heart health issues:

High blood pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, happens when your heart is working too hard to pump the right amount of blood around the body.

The more this happens, the less energy the heart has to keep up, putting you at risk for strokes or heart attacks. 

High cholesterol levels
Though cholesterol occurs naturally in your body, LDL cholesterol (low density cholesterol) is particularly harmful.

Cholesterol is essentially fat in the blood. If your LDL levels build up, it can create deposits on the arteries which block blood flow to the heart and brain.

Inflammation
Inflammation is one of those things that is highly affected by hormonal responses in the body. When you’re stressed, your body can struggle to find a way to cope.

The more inflammation that happens in the body (and the stronger the inflammation is), the more at risk the body is to disease.

With regular practice, meditation helps our bodies adopt more positive reactions to stressful situations:

  1. When you take that time to be quiet and centre yourself, it slows down brain activity, particularly in the amygdala – this is the section that prepares us for fight or flight.

  2. Once this area is calmed, the body is better able to prevent the release of the stress hormone, cortisol.

  3. Then, as you focus on your breath, your heart rate slows down and can function at a healthy pace.

  4. Not to mention, the less stressed we are, the better we’re able to slip into a deep sleep at night which rejuvenates the body for the next day. 

Combined together, these calming effects of meditation allow your body to build up and regulate its defenses against stress.

Though meditation is not a replacement for exercise or prescribed medication from a doctor, it’s an excellent addition to your daily routine. Start at 3 minutes and work your way up from there.