State Employee Health Plan

Relaxation and the Heart

February 17, 2021

10:50 AM by Courtney Fitzgerald

We know that exercise and eating right leads to a healthier heart, but studies reveal that relaxation techniques also have a positive impact on heart health. You can try a few small changes throughout your day to promote relaxation.

  • Laugh more often. Laughter can relieve your stress response and leave you with a good, relaxed feeling. Make it a habit to share funny jokes or stories with those around you. Hang up silly photos in your home or office for an added humor boost.
  • Breathe deeply. Deep breathing triggers your body’s relaxation response. Close your eyes and try to focus on filling your belly with air. Slowly release your air until your heart rate and mind are at ease.
  • Meditate. Meditation can wipe away the day’s stress and bring inner peace. Focusing your attention takes practice, especially in a world that’s filled with text messages, social media, and other distractions. Start by taking a few minutes each day to unplug and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind.
  • Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep at night allows your mind and body to rest so you are more equipped to handle stress, leaving you more at ease during the day. Sleep experts suggest aiming for about 7 to 9 hours of sleep.

Relaxation techniques are good for your heart, but don’t forget that these practices are not replacements for preventive exams or medication. Before beginning a new activity program, talk with your primary care provider for guidance on keeping your heart healthy.

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