Harvard Heart Letter

Can calming your mind help your heart?

Image: Thinkstock

Meditation practices vary, but most involve quiet, focused attention, during
which you close your eyes and direct your
consciousness on breathing, an
object, or a word or phrase known
as a mantra. Transcendental meditation
uses techniques that encourage the mind to
"transcend" thoughts; mindfulness
meditation encourages you to focus on the
present moment. For more information,
see www.helpguide.org/harvard/mindfulness.htm

Meditation offers promising benefits for the cardiovascular system.

Many people practice meditation in hopes of staving off stress and stress-related health problems, including heart disease. While some studies of meditation's mental and physical benefits haven't been the most scientifically rigorous, research strongly suggests that this ancient, mind-calming practice can help lower blood pressure—and offers hints of other benefits for the entire cardiovascular system.

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