Traditional doctors recommend meditation as a way to deal with many health problems, such as high blood pressure. It doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t require any special gear, can be done in your pajamas without breaking a sweat, and has no negative side effects. This method has been shown to work and be safe for teenagers, people in their 30s, and people in their 60s.
For example, experts at Georgia Health Sciences University said that Transcendental Meditation could lower resting and walking blood pressure and improve school behavior in teens at risk of high blood pressure. The same method also helped adults with mild to moderate essential hypertension by lowering their blood pressure, reducing their need for antihypertensive drugs, and relieving the symptoms of angina pectoris and atherosclerosis. Also, it cut deaths from and symptoms of heart disease by a lot.
A study was done in London with the help of 129 adults. 67 of them did Sahaja Yoga meditation every day, while the other 62 were a control group. People in the meditation group saw big changes in their blood pressure (especially diastolic blood pressure), anxiety, and overall quality of life after just one week. In the control group, there were no changes like these. Those who had both high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes had the biggest drop in diastolic blood pressure, which was about 12 mmHg.
Another group of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina found that African-American teens with high blood pressure who did breathing awareness meditation for three months had lower blood pressure than those who went through a Life Skills Training program or got health education.
Types of Meditation
So far, I’ve talked about three studies and three different ways to meditate. However, there are more. Even though the three studies used different ways to meditate, they all came to the same conclusion: meditation can help lower blood pressure.
Not every type of meditation is right for everyone, just like not every shoe fits every person the same way. Even though there are many ways to meditate, they all have the same basic parts.
Quieting the mind
The point of meditation is to focus on a single thing that makes you feel better, like your breath, a flickering candle flame, a sound, or a phrase.
If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to what you want to think about. Don’t be hard on yourself if your mind wanders. It happens to everyone.
Try to ignore body sensations, useless thoughts, and other distractions when you meditate.
How to Use Meditation
There are four common types of meditation that can help people deal with stress and lower their blood pressure. There are many websites, books, DVDs, and apps that you can use to learn more about these meditation methods. You can also go to group meditation sessions to learn more about the process and have a fun time with other people. In most towns and cities, you can find these kinds of programs at community centers, churches, hospitals, health centers, and other places.
Mindfulness meditation, which in the Buddhist tradition is also called “insight meditation,” is a type of meditation that many people do. This method requires you to pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of your deepest thoughts and feelings without judging them. The goal is to notice these thoughts and feelings as they come up and let them go on their own without trying to change them. Mindfulness meditation is often used to learn more about oneself, and it can also be a very effective way to relieve stress.
Focusing on your breath is part of this way to meditate. If you’re new to meditation, this is a great way to start. Find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes, and focus on your breath to start. Slowly and gently breathe in through your nose so that you can feel the air going into your lungs and diaphragm. Pay attention to your breath as it leaves your body and goes out of your nose. It’s normal for your mind to wander, though. Just get back to focusing on your breathing. Try to practice for five to ten minutes and as many times as you can during the day. It’s a simple way to calm down and relieve stress that works well.
With this method of meditation, you can walk while meditating. Instead of focusing on your breath, a sound, or a thought, you pay attention to how your body moves and the feelings that come with it. For example, pay attention to how each foot feels when it hits the floor or ground and how it rolls as you move. As you walk, pay attention to how the breeze feels on your arms, face, and body. Whenever your mind starts to wander, just bring it back to your body. Of course, you should always be aware of your surroundings to keep yourself safe. In fact, a key part of walking meditation is being aware of the ground beneath your feet and the area where you are walking. If you like to jog or run instead of walk, you can use this method as the basis for a jog or run meditation as well.
If you’ve always thought of meditation as chanting a mantra, you might have been thinking of Transcendental Meditation. This type of meditation has been done since the time of the ancient Vedas, and it has been looked at in more than 350 studies. But when the Maharishi brought it to the West in the middle of the last century, it became better known and more popular.
In Transcendental Meditation, you sit comfortably for 20 minutes twice a day and repeat a mantra, which is a sound, word, or phrase. It is not a way of life, a religion, or a philosophy. Instead, it is a way to become more self-aware and grow as a person. Transcendental Meditation helps a lot of people because repeating a mantra keeps the mind from wandering and puts you in a relaxed, dream-like state.