Heart Health: Meditation and You

Meditation to lower blood pressure

Meditation and relaxation for your heart.

At 38 years old, I found myself in emergency open heart surgery. As traumatic as that experience was, the recovery that followed proved to be a different kind of challenge.

There are many factors people can control when managing their heart disease. Medications can be taken for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. A recovering patient can maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise. But, one area that is often overlooked, yet has a strong impact on cardiac health is stress management.

As a recovering open heart patient, I was forced to apply all of the control methods regarding medication, diet, and exercise. But when it came to stress relief, most people, doctors, cardiac therapists, family, and friends offered many options but without real insight. I learned one important factor in choosing an appropriate stress relief method. Try many of them and stay with the ones you enjoy.

Below is a list of methods that have worked for me, for the past four years, since my emergency open heart surgery.

Soft Music

I love to listen to music. I listen to all kinds of music. When I looked for the right music to relax to, I tried soft rock, classical, soundscapes, and a number of others. All of these worked at one time or another, but only acoustic guitar ballads, from artists like Peter White and Acoustic Alchemy, gave me lasting stress relief. The sound was heavenly.

Meditative Walks

Walking is already very good for your heart. I found that by clearing my mind and trying very hard to be present in my walk around the park, by the ocean, or even doing groceries allowed me to enjoy that moment even more. Since there was no particular destination, timeframe, or distance, I allowed myself to observe my surroundings and just enjoy. Let your walks be a time to enjoy the present moment and nothing else.

Audio books

Reading relaxes me. But, when I tried listening to an audio book for the first time, I found myself fully engaged. I closed my eyes often and let the speaker's words melt into my mind. Most of the books I listened to were by Eckhart Tolle and other self help gurus. Regardless of the topic, audio books seem to involve my mind in a much more captivating and relaxing way.

Create Something

Recovering from heart surgery will test your will and your mind. However, in the quiet times when all seems fine, you might find yourself bored. In those moments, I actually started to stress because there was nothing to do. To solve this, I began to challenge my mind. I started creative writing. In the past, I enjoyed the potential of a blank piece of paper. I allowed my mind to create characters, worlds, and drama. These writings may never go anywhere. In the end, they already served their purpose by allowing my mind to focus and relax. Along with creative writing, I challenged my mind by trying to create fishing lures, drawings, and inventions. All of these creative pursuits helped me to focus away from the natural anxiety of recovery.

Talk to Yourself

Try journaling. Whether you write online, in a blog, or a notebook, your thoughts are important. This stream of consciousness exercise will allow you to naturally dissipate your underlying anxiety. It's amazing to see what actually comes out on paper after a few entries over several days. You really are able to take a more objective look at your frame of mind. Talking to yourself in this way lets your mind release many hidden concerns and questions.

It took some time for me to get down to these five methods. I tried many others like yoga, tai chi, singing, and other more ridiculous things. In the end, these work for me. I hope they help you in some way. Good luck and enjoy your journey of recovery.

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