Mindfulness, Meditation and Heart Health: why this is important for you and your employees

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While there is no underestimating the importance of following a nutritious, healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise, mindfulness and meditation can also play an important role in supporting a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.  We often deliver the opportunity for our customers to have a restful stay or smooth experience, but how often do you prioritise your own mindfulness after a busy day at work?

Here’s some insight into what meditation practices are and how they help lower heart disease and SCA risks thanks to our partners DefibsPlus.

We Live High-Stress Lives

Over the decades, modern life has become busier and busier, with the
lines between work, family and leisure becoming blurred. We’re trying to juggle
everything all the time, and it’s easy to start paying the price with our
health – eating fast food because we’re in a rush, working into the early hours
of the morning for days and weeks on end, sleeping poorly, and burning the
candle at both ends. Needless to say, the events of the past 12 months have also
pushed us all to the edge in terms of stress levels.

When we’re stressed, our body releases cortisol – a hormone that
prepares us to fight or flight. It’s an important process that temporarily
affects almost every system and process in the body, increasing blood sugar
levels for energy, increasing blood pressure to power our muscles to run away
or fight back, increasing our heart rate to ready the body for rapid responses
to threats, stopping or slowing digestion, and putting your systems on high
alert.

Of course, this is a good reaction when we are facing a threat – but
when stress becomes a way of life, it becomes a dangerous problem. High
cortisol levels can trigger multiple health problems, from weight gain and
digestive issues to sleep problems, anxiety, depression and memory impairment.
It is also very bad for your heart, increasing your risk of heart disease and
stroke
.

How Meditation and Mindfulness Practices Can Help

Meditation is the process of sitting quietly in a relaxed, peaceful
environment, focusing on your breath, a candle flame or a simple object for a
period of time. Mindfulness practises are exercises that include elements of
meditation, like yoga or Tai Chi. In both practices, the goal is to keep the
mind clear and focussed, away from distractions, calming your mind and body.

The main benefit of meditation and mindfulness practices is the ability
to raise your heart rate variability (HRV), or the speed at which your heart
can adjust intervals between heartbeats. Research has shown that low HRV is associated with 32%-45%
increased risk of heart attack, stroke and SCA in people without any previously
known cardiovascular disease. Essentially, a high HRV means a healthier heart. One study showed that people who performed just 5
minutes of meditation daily were able to improve their HRV compared to those
who did not meditate.

Other benefits of meditation include introducing healthier ways to manage
stress (thereby lowering cortisol levels), improved quality and length of
sleep, lowering blood pressure, decreasing negative emotions, increasing
patience and tolerance, building greater self-awareness, and managing symptoms
of several health conditions.

How to Meditate or Practice Mindfulness

The most important thing to remember is that there is a meditation or mindfulness
practise for everyone, whether you enjoy the spiritual aspects of the practice
or simply want a practical and effective way to boost the health of your mind
and body.

Here is a basic way to practice meditation. Just like anything else, it
takes dedication and commitment to make it work!

  • Find a quiet space with few distractions. You can sit inside or
    outdoors, and you can even use a white noise machine or noise-cancelling
    headphones to create some peace and quiet.
  • Choose a space and time with the right light levels. Some people enjoy
    muted daylight, some like sunrise, and some enjoy the dark – whatever works for
    you.
  • Sit quietly but comfortably. It’s best to sit on the floor with a mat or
    cushion underneath you. You want to sit upright but be relaxed.
  • Slowly relax all your muscles, looking for tension in your feet, ankles,
    legs, torso and head. You can slowly stretch, roll your neck or move side to
    side to help release tension.
  • Close your eyes and try to block out everything in your mind, focusing
    as you take a slow breath in and slowly breath out. Some people find it easier
    to focus on a candle flame or a single object.
  • You’ll notice thoughts and distractions popping into your mind. Be aware
    of them and try to dismiss them, regaining your focus on your breath or object.
  • Start slow. Aim to meditate for 10 minutes a day and build up to
    something that is comfortable and doable for you.

For DefibsPlus, heart health is a priority! They are a leading AED supplier offering defibrillator training through the FREE HeartSmart program. They can also assist you with AED parts, batteries, storage cabinets and First Aid kits. In order to make this investment more affordable, they also offer a generous subsidy.

For more information on products and services or the DefibsPlus subsidy, call 1300 463 344 or use the online form to contact DefibsPlus today.

Meta Description: Meditation and mindfulness practices can help boost heart health and
manage stress, lowering your risks of heart disease. Find out how it works and
how to meditate, with these tips from our team.

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