Do Transcendental Meditation for Anxiety to Save Your Heart

There are factors that play massive roles in your risk of heart disease. Stress is one factor.  Luckily, you can do Transcendental meditation for anxiety.

Stress from work.  Stress from family.  Stress from school.  It never seems to end and seems to have become ingrained in today’s hectic lifestyle.

Keep in mind that stress is a programmed protective response.  It creates underlying physiological changes that ensure our survival.  Short term it may cause the breakdown of muscle to keep a constant source of glucose in the bloodstream so that the brain has fuel and you can stay alert.  Imagine if a sabre toothed tiger was known to be in the area.  Not a good time to drop off for a nap, so you can see how the release of cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) to keep sugar in the bloodstream can keep you alive for the next few hours.

On the other hand, stress signals can be passed up the food chain.  Drought could change the grasses in the area.  Animals eating the grasses would recognize these signals within the plant and the animal’s body would respond with its own protective changes.  We then eat the meat from the animal and the message passes to us.  Our bodies may undergo adaptive changes, such as storing more calories as body fat to prepare for the coming famine.

So you can see, stress keeps us alive.  Or rather, it was designed to keep us alive when dealing with a clearly defined threat.  That does not define stress in today’s society.  Sure, when we are in a life threatening situation your body will release adrenaline and we can see how this could save your life.

But, in every other situation in today’s lifestyle does not have a clearly defined threat.  Worse, there is rarely a clearly defined end point, either.  This wreaks absolute havoc on your health.

It is possible that stress related problems are the leading cause of death in the US today.  Consider the research that finds that taking sleep medications are associated with over a half MILLION deaths per year.  While the study did not suggest this, stress can absolutely contribute to sleep problems (and is probably the leading cause of sleep disorders) and it is likely that the use of sleep medications was a marker for people who were over-stressed.  The stress is what is killing this many people per year.

If you have stress in your life, you need to rearrange your thinking.  It’s killing you and setting your kids up for health problems (read my previous blog post on this topic).  While this is not an easy solution, you need to first understand that it’s not an option. Doing otherwise IS going to kill you.  It’s that clear cut.

In the meantime, you need to manage your stress.  Exercise can be very effective.  I know that personally, for those few times that I have felt overwhelmed by stress, hiking very aggressively has always help to burn out the stress inside, leaving my problems to be faced academically, without emotional filtering.

Transcedental Meditation can be one of the most powerful tools to calm your brain.  Previous studies that I have reviewed have shown very strong protective benefits of meditation.  The pinnacle of meditation is Transcendental Meditation, or TM. 

In this particular study, participants who had heart disease (secondary prevention) were trained in transcendental meditation over the course of 12 hours of courses and followed up for a period of 5 years.  Before we go over the results, you need to understand that these patients already had problems.  Without the addition of meditation, drugs like Lipitor and blood pressure medications are usually used to try to prevent progression of heart disease and prevent death.  Frankly, they don’t do a very good job and have been trumped by much more fun interventions like dark chocolate.

So what kind of results did those who practiced Transcendental Meditation achieve?

  1. 48% overall lower risk of death. (Tweet this)
  2. 24% lower risk of dying from heart disease, having a heart procedure or being hospitalized for heart disease. (Tweet this)
  3. Those who do Transcendental Meditation according to the recommendations were more likely to survive the longest.

The bottom line is that, if you have been diagnosed with heart disease (or, frankly, if you are on your way to heart disease), taking a passive role and just using medication is going to get you half-ass results.  The ONLY way to live a long and healthy life is to make significant changes.  In the case of this study, it meant learning to manage your stress using a powerful meditation technique.

Of course, not all of us have the time and money to undergo Transcendental Meditation training.  But there are CDs, shorter online courses and biofeedback devices like the Resperate that you can take to learn skills in meditation that will dramatically benefit your health.

If you have adopted any type of stress management techniques in your life, what have you tried and what kind of benefits have you seen?

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.