There are many researches that support the idea that mindfulness meditations have many health benefits. During this pandemic Mindfulness meditation practice can be a very helpful in hand tool to fight the anxiety related to COVID 19 and to fight related fear. According to recent studies high level of mortality rate is among who have comorbidity of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and obesity, majorly Lifestyle disorders also known as Non communicable disease. In this article I will explain all the concepts behind this technique.
Mindfulness meditation has roots within Theravada Buddhism, where it is known as satipatana vipassana or insight meditation (Nyanaponika, 1962), in Mahayana Buddhism in Soto Zen practices (Suzuki, 1970), and in the Yogic traditions as expressed in the contemporary writings of J. Krishnamurti (1979), Vimila Thakar (1977), and Nisargadatta Maharaj (1973).
Mindfulness meditation is a technique aimed at developing present moment awareness and non‐reactivity to all types of experience. There are varieties of different forms of mindfulness teachings (Vipassana, Zen, MBSR, etc.), however all techniques share the common goal of cultivating present‐moment, non‐judgmental awareness and non‐ reactivity. This is accomplished by learning to concentrate one’s attention in the present‐ moment using some type of object (usually by focusing on the natural breath), and then to switch one’s attention to thoughts and body sensations and learn to not react. Overall, mindfulness techniques increase awareness and decrease reactivity (Jagannathan, 2013). Attitudinal factors which constitute the major pillars of this program are as follows: non-judging, patience, a beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving acceptance, seeing things as if they are in the present and letting go. They are all interconnected.
Non-judging: being an impartial witness of our experience. We need to be aware that there is a constant stream of judging and reacting to inner and outer experience. The habit of judging and categorizing locks us into mechanical reactions built on a hard crust. Thus, becoming aware of automatic judgments is important.
Patience: is a form of wisdom- accept the position that things will unfold in their own time, open to each movement, accepting it in its fullness.
Beginner’s mind: a mind that is willing to see each step in meditation as if one is doing it for the first time!
Trust: in one’s own institutions.
Non- striving acceptance: we do not meditate to get something. Seeing things as if they are in the present.
Mindfulness Meditation may be a workable key element in management of Novel Corona Virus SARS-CoV-2 health condition especially for those who have comorbidities of hypertension and other Non-communicable disease (NDCs).
To understand the role of Mindfulness meditation we need to compile the data from Mindfulness researches and Psychological researches with current studies of Novel Corona Virus SARS CoV-2. Binding of S-glycoprotein (Spikes like structure on Novel Corona Virus SARS CoV-2 ) with Angiotensin –converting enzyme2 (ACE2) cause loss of ACE2 receptors, may lead to pathological blood circulation and increased demand of oxygen when individual’s lungs are not ready to grab enough oxygen may lead to cardiac complication and other respiratory complications .
At initial stage of Novel Corona Virus SARS CoV-2 infection mindfulness meditation will be helpful to reduce the demands of oxygen and will slow down the increased blood pressure. High level of anxiety and other psychological conditions may hinder this process so individual need to take mental health support because during anxiety also oxygen demand increase up to 10%.
Particularly in case of hypertension there is dominance of Hypothalamus-pituitary- adrenal axis over Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). Let’s understand how this system works in our body Renin cleaves( Catalytically) angiotensinogen and forms angiotensin 1 Angiotensin –converting enzymes then convert Angiotensin 1 to its physiologically active form , Angiotensin 2 that cause contraction of the muscles surrounding blood vessels, narrowing vessels and increase blood pressure. Simultaneously stimulates the release of aldosterone, which stimulates water and sodium reabsorption, thereby increasing blood volume and blood pressure. The role of Angiotensin –Converting –Enzyme 2 (ACE2) ( receptor for Novel Corona Virus SARS-CoV-2) is to reduce the increased blood pressure, In fact, ACE2, involved in the RAS mediated homeostasis, plays at intestinal level regulating the microbiome, acting on amino acid uptakes, and expression of antimicrobial peptides . During COVID 19 infection ( lower part of lungs have high level density of ACE2) more of ACE2 receptors damaged cause inability to slow down heightened blood pressure automatically it will lead to pathological blood circulation or domination of sympathetic nervous system, may lead to cardiac problems and heart attack. At this time we need to support our bodily systems or use non-invasive methods to support immunity and RAS mediated homeostasis.
Practitioner of meditation brings about desirable changes in their thoughts, perceptions, behavior and lifestyle. Increased stress and hostility has been associated with increased release of catecholamine and corticoids causing hypertension and its complications. Physiologically meditation causes parasympathetic dominance over sympathetic nervous system; maintain pulse rate and blood pressure, reduces vascular spasm and prevents complications associated with hypertension.
In the situation of Pandemic (COVID 19) Mindfulness meditation can be used as preventive and supportive behavioral medicine.
There is need to understand the role of Psychology and Behavioral Health or Mental Health.
For those who are suffering from Novel Corona Virus SARS-CoV-2, especially for those who are suffering from hypertension and other related NDCs