Updated: Oct 18, 2019
February is American Heart Month. Show your heart some love physically and emotionally too. Scientific studies show mindfulness practice can make your heart stronger, literally and figuratively.
Mindfulness training has been shown to help manage stress and even lower high blood pressure. Experts reviewed dozens of studies published over the past two decades and found that meditation may improve a host of factors linked with heart disease — making it worth including in an overall program for ongoing heart care.
And it's not just good for your heart muscle. In order to understand if and how we can increase compassion, neuroscientists have studied areas of the brain that are most active when we respond to pain or distress. One scientific finding: we can cultivate kindness and empathy through mindfulness techniques. What you practice grows stronger, and mindfulness is a tool that can bring more kindness to our communities, and to ourselves. Because you know who deserves compassion? You do. And others too, of course. But it starts with you. “With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we'd give to a good friend,” explains leading researcher, Kristin Neff, Ph.D. Loving-kindness meditation focuses on developing feelings of goodwill and kindness for yourself and others. Check out Dr. Neff’s website for 7 different guided, self-compassion meditations, plus some exercises.
Oh, be still my beating heart.