Understanding the physiology of mindfulness: aortic hemodynamics and heart rate variability
Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2016
Pages: 168 - 174
Source ID: shanti-sources-108726
Collection: Mindfulness Studies and Undergraduates
Abstract: Data were collected to examine autonomic and hemodynamic cardiovascular modulation underlying mindfulness from two independent samples. An initial sample (N = 185) underwent laboratory assessments of central aortic blood pressure and myocardial functioning to investigated the association between mindfulness and cardiac functioning. Controlling for religiosity, mindfulness demonstrated a strong negative relationship with myocardial oxygen consumption and left ventricular work but not heart rate or blood pressure. A second sample (N = 124) underwent a brief (15 min) mindfulness inducing intervention to examine the influence of mindfulness on cardiovascular autonomic modulation via blood pressure variability and heart rate variability. The intervention had a strong positive effect on cardiovascular modulation by decreasing cardiac sympathovagal tone, vasomotor tone, vascular resistance and ventricular workload. This research establishes a link between mindfulness and cardiovascular functioning via correlational and experimental methodologies in samples of mostly female undergraduates. Future directions for research are outlined.