Keep Your Hands Busy for Heart Health

Meditating can melt away stress but some people need another option
January 15, 2021 Updated: January 16, 2021

Mindfulness meditation may help ease stress and promote a healthier heart, but it’s not always easy to do. Stopping everything you’re doing and sitting in silence is a learned skill.

I’m sure you can relate. It’s easy for your mind to start racing once you’re alone with your thoughts. Sitting in a comfortable, quiet space can get uncomfortable and loud inside your head. It can serve as a perfect platform for overthinking, which can boost stress.

Too much stress is no good for your heart, especially if you’re feeling it all day, every day.

Stress can boost heart disease risk by setting off a chain of physiological reactions that can have some dangerous effects.

Your body releases adrenaline when you feel stressed. Adrenaline increases your heart rate and breathing and boosts blood pressure. When it continues, it strains the heart.

There are also indirect effects. Stress may lead you to engage in behavior that boosts the risk of heart disease. Research links stress to bad food choices that include fat and sugar, which can boost cholesterol and blood pressure. Stress can also zap your energy and limit your physical activity.

So, if mindfulness meditation doesn’t work for you, try keeping your hands busy. Sitting down with some knitting, woodworking, jigsaw puzzles, or cooking can all help take your mind off your stressful thoughts, help you relax, and offer something enjoyable to think about.

Sometimes just the repetitive motion of knitting is enough to reduce stress and take your mind off any troubles.

If you’re struggling with stress and really can’t sit quietly in meditation, try putting your hands to work. It can ease the burden on your heart and mind.

Mat Lecompte is a freelance health and wellness journalist. This article was first published on Bel Marra Health.