Morning Thoughts for a Happy Heart: How Your Purpose Fuels Health

Reducing your risk of heart problems and the possibility of a stroke increases your life expectancy. The best way to accomplish this might not be with a drug, but with what you think about when you wake up in the morning. A study at Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine shows that having a high sense of purpose in your life—a purpose that shapes your thoughts and actions—can help fight off heart disease and vascular problems.

In analyzing 10 studies that looked at the health of more than 137,000 people, the scientists demonstrated a connection between having a strong purpose in life with a more resilient cardiovascular system. “Purpose in life” can be as simple as a firm sense of direction, giving meaning to the activities you do throughout your life, and encompassing a belief that life is worth living.

During these various studies, having a sense of purpose was linked to a 23 percent drop in the chances of dying from any cause. Additionally, those people who had a “purpose in life” had a 19 percent reduced chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke. “Developing and refining your sense of purpose could protect your heart health and potentially save your life,” says researcher Randy Cohen, a preventive cardiologist. “Our study shows there is a strong relationship between having a sense of purpose in life and protection from dying or having a cardiovascular event.”

Embrace Mindfulness Meditation

One of the most effective ways to empower yourself and improve your health in this way is through mindfulness meditation. If you think mindfulness can’t affect your health and longevity, a study at the University of California-Davis found that using mindfulness meditation methods for just three months improves your sense of well-being so much that it makes your very cells younger and healthier.

Mindfulness practice is simple and only takes 10 minutes. One of the easiest is mantra meditation, where you concentrate on your breath going in and out while repeating a phrase. In this case, you can try the “Soham” mantra. Why? Because in yogic practice, it helps you answer the question “who am I?” This answer will aid in our goal of improving heart health by helping you define your “purpose in life.”

Soham Mantra Meditation

The Soham mantra is among the easiest because yogis believe it the most natural since “Soooo” is the sound of inhalation, and “Hammmm” is the sound of exhalation. To get started with Soham mantra meditation, follow these steps:

  1. Find a comfortable position: You can sit on a chair, cross-legged on the floor, or, if you prefer, you can lie down. The key is to maintain a straight spine and a relaxed posture.
  2. Relax your body: Begin by taking a few deep breaths and letting go of any tension in your body. You can start from the top of your head to the tip of your toes, consciously releasing tension in each muscle as you work your way down.
  3. Breathe in and out: Focus on your breath, inhaling, and exhaling naturally. Feel the movement of your abdomen as you breathe in and out.
  4. Introduce the mantra: As you inhale, mentally say the sound “Soooo,” and as you exhale, mentally say the sound “Hammmm.” Maintain your focus on the breath and the mantra.
  5. Stay focused: When you notice your mind wandering or getting caught up in thoughts, gently bring your attention back to the breath and the mantra.
  6. Finish the practice: After 10 minutes or your desired meditation time, slowly bring your awareness back to your surroundings, and gently open your eyes.

Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Regularly practicing mindfulness meditation can provide you with a variety of benefits aside from just possibly improving your heart health. These can include:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved concentration and focus
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Better emotional well-being
  • Enhanced memory and cognitive function
  • Improved immune system function
  • Reduced blood pressure

By incorporating mindfulness meditation into your daily routine, you can cultivate a sense of purpose in life, which can potentially improve your heart health and overall well-being. Remember, prevention is better than cure, so start practicing mindfulness meditation today to take control of your health and live a more fulfilling life.