The evidence has been mounting for some time, and more and more it points to the benefits of meditation for heart health - for those interested in the medical details I've listed Dr. Dean Ornish's books below.
One way that meditation reduces a stress reaction is by using the mind and breath to relax the body.
"Instant Meditation" is a practice of standing back from yourself and concentrating on your breath for a minute - cutting short a further bodily reaction to stress.
To practice, when faced with a sudden stress or trauma begin counting and regulating your breaths like this: count one breathe in; count two breathe out; count three breathe in; count 4 breathe out; then repeat the entire one to four sequence.
After a few rounds of this concentrated breathing pattern the mind is distracted momentarily from the problem and the body avoids reacting in a fight or flight mode.
A regular practice of longer meditation sessions such as deep relaxation meditation is a chance to totally relax the body and mind.
Dr. Dean Ornish says in his "Guided Meditation Series" here use "… Deep Relaxation to encourage the body to let go of stress, tension, anxiety, and pain". …
Dr. Ornish has authored and co-authored many books on heart health which I have read through over the years. I've personally known Dr. Ornish since the mid-70s and recommend his work and books. Here are two available at Amazon.com if you wish to understand more of the scientific benefits of meditation, yoga, better diet and exercise -
1. Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease
2. Stress Diet and Your Heart: A Lifetime Program for Healing Your Heart Without Drugs or Surgery
And from my long-time friend and yogini supreme, Nirmala Heriza -
Dr. Yoga: A Complete Guide to the Medical Benefits of Yoga (Yoga for Health)
The combination of good diet and exercise, plus hatha, yoga philosophies and meditation has had a positive impact on my life.
Article by Susan Helene Kramer
For offline reading
Meditation Lessons for Adults
More than 70 offerings, from guided meditation techniques to on-the-go stress relief and relationship meditations interspersed with verse, and a section of special occasion prayers. 114 pages.
Meditation for all Kids
Sitting, walking, dance and group circle meditations, along with positive affirmations, verses and benefits of meditation for kids of all ages and abilities in a 100 page book with illustrations.