Meditation has long been touted for its potential to improve individual well-being, including the reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression. But little research has explored how the practice can benefit our physical health. A recent study, however, brings new evidence to the table, showing that a calm mind can do wonders to the heart.
After analyzing a large national database with more than 61,000 participants, medical researchers have recently found a connection between meditation and improved cardiovascular health outcomes.
Of the 61,000 participants, nearly 10 percent (6,000) said they participated in some form of meditation. The researchers found that those who meditated were less likely to experience high cholesterol and high blood pressure in comparison to those who didn’t meditate.
The most striking difference was in coronary artery disease. Those who meditated were almost 50 percent less likely to suffer the disease, according to the statistics. This group was also 35 percent less likely to suffer high cholesterol and 30 percent less likely to suffer from diabetes.
These remained valid even after the researchers accounted for other potentially influential factors such as age, cigarette smoking, and body mass index.
However, the authors did note a few limitations of their work. To start, they did not account for all of the different types of meditation. Also, participants were not asked about the length or intensity of their personal meditation sessions. Both of these elements may greatly influence meditation’s effect on one’s cardiovascular health.
Considering all of the factors, the researchers concluded that meditation is likely associated with a lower prevalence of the cardiovascular disease, but that more exhaustive research is needed.
The study does, however, add to a growing body of research pointing to the potential benefits of meditation in reducing stress, anxiety, and improving people’s health.