Meditation Recommendations

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johnnycake23

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Greetings,

I occasionally get palpitations (like the ones I'm having as I type this) and I want to try meditating to help alleviate the irregular heartbeat. I was wondering if anyone out there has a good recommendation for a specific technique to help with this issue. I've dabbled in meditation using some iPhone apps but oftentimes when I try my thoughts are like a horse in full gallop--it's awful hard to corral them. I just want to be able to relax, stay calm, and enjoy all the benefits meditation is reported to carry, including help with arrhythmia. Thank you for your help.

Johnny
 

tom in MO

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I used to volunteer at a mental hospital in the children and preadolescent wards. The therapists there did a form of relaxation therapy called guided imagery. You lie on your back and listen to a therapist guide you on your breathing and what to think about. Lasts about 15-30 min depending upon the session. Many people fall asleep. The point of it was, once you learn how to relax your body this way, you can do it w/o therapist such as waiting in the surgeon's office. It does work. I stayed in a hotel in the late 1990s that gave away a CD in each room with a guided imagery routine. You should be able to research it on-line.
 

Protimenow

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I've been getting SVTs (supraventricular tachycardia) for decades. The first ones scared the hell out of me. I called a doctor friend, and he told me to put my hands on my knees and push as if I was going to the bathroom. It seemed to make them stop.

I got them before, and I still get them after, my AVR.

I don't think, in my case, that they're stress related. I doubt that meditation or other things will really help them to go away - although it may be relaxing while it's happening. These episodes, in me, at least, rarely last more than five or ten minutes -- if they go much longer, I get concerned, but not enough to really do anything about them.

I had a 24 hour holter monitor last year, and it recorded SVTs even while I was sleeping -- just a few heartbeats, but still abnormal.

I learned to just 'ride' them out. I was in the hospital last year with a leg problem, and had one while I was talking on the phone to my wife. It was an easy conversation. A nurse came rushing into my room. "Who are you talking to?' she demanded. I asked her 'does it matter?' 'You're having an arrhythmia,' she insisted. 'I know. So what?, ' I asked her. 'It must be a real stressful call,' the nurse continued. I told her that it's no big deal, I get them fairly often.

A minute or two later, my heart returned to its normal rhythm. I had one for about 30-60 seconds last night. I rode it through. No big deal.

Perhaps you'll also be able to get to a point where these become 'no big deal,' and you won't really need relaxation, meditation, self-hypnosis, and other things to ride them through. If they last many minutes, you may want to try the maneuver my old doctor suggested (I'm pretty sure that it's called the VasoVagal maneuver). I mentioned these heart rhythm problems to my cardio, and he suggested increasing my bisoprolol (a beta blocker). You may want to talk to your doctor about it, or ask about increasing your beta blocker or starting one if you don't already take one.

These are scary, but I don't think they do any lasting harm. (In many cases, by the time you get set up to meditate, the arrhthmia will have already stopped - instead, just realize that this is probably a temporary thing and will resolve on its own in a few minutes).
 

dornole

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What I have found most helpful when meditating is to focus not on thoughts or lack of thoughts but on remembering a feeling and how it “feels” literally in your body. For example I love the Oregon coast and I can imagine myself there and then I notice and increase the bodily sensation of happiness that arises, usually in my heart, throat and eyes. You could also consider a heartmath type device that will give you feedback on your relaxation.
 

Jmprosser.lab

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I’ve also had Superventricular Tachycardia...I’ve done Transcendental Meditation for years and it’s been a huge help managing stress. My episodes aren’t based on anxiety either, but it still helps to keep me calm. TM Meditation has a great gq article if you’re interested.
 

Protimenow

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My SVTs don't usually last long enough to start meditation, self hypnosis, or the other stress reduction techniques - by the time I can get these started, the SVT is usually finished.

Not stressing (much) over this unwelcome event, and getting stressed that it hasn't finished, helps me, in my case, to deal with them.
 

Zoltania

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Meditation might be useful as a general technique to help you manage your thoughts/mind/consciousness, whether or not it's useful in the moment when you notice palpitations.

Having your thoughts be hard to corral when you're trying to meditate is completely normal. I took a class in "Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction" (MBSR), which was held once a week for eight weeks and was basically about mindfulness meditation. The instructor said that the point of meditation wasn't to not have your mind wander, it was to notice when it wandered and gently bring it back, over and over. She likened it to a puppy trying to learn to stay still. It will keep trying to run around, but you can keep bringing it back to stillness.

If you want to learn more about meditation, there are plenty of books about it. I liked "10% Happier" by Dan Harris, who was a newscaster who turned to meditation after his lifelong anxiety led to an on-the-air panic attack.
 

johnnycake23

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Thank you for the recommendations. I will see what forms of meditation work for me, if any. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.
 

Protimenow

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Fanging? What a great word. Even for this American English speaker, the word, and its context, sort of make sense. (I hope this wasn't perceived as a political statement)
 

Protimenow

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I sit in my chair. I close my eyes. I feel the air moving around me. Little butterflies are flying around my head (but they sound like house flies - go figure). I'm surrounded by a string quartet, softly playing "Stairway to Heaven", I hear a marching band. slowly entering the room from behind me. It's playing a spirited version of "Stars and Stripes Forever.' While they play, they rapidly walk up to me. getting louder the closer they get. I can't resist tapping my feet to Sousa, while the band gets closer, and the string quartet gets softer and fades into the background. The tuba and drums are behind my head, one tuba playing in one ear, a drum tapping in the other. The music and butterflies take my mind away from my tachycardia symptoms.

The soft, earthy, sweet fragrance of week old sauerkraut gently wafts around my head. The butterflies fly closer to my head. The sweet fragrance has all the beauty of a glorious garbage dump, It further relaxes me, and takes my mind off the tachycardia.

As I drift into a beautiful state of deep relaxation, it's all instantly broken:

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING. TAKE OUT THE DAMNED TRASH!!,' my wife gently reminds me, before gently kissing my ear with a frying pan.

I look forward to another episode of tachycardia, so I can again return to my idyllic meditation.

(Yeah, only kidding)
 

dornole

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Ok protimenow, you weisenheimer. Sounds like you need Jason Headley’s “F that - A Guided Mediation.” I have a feeling you’ll enjoy it.
 

Protimenow

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'weisenheimer'? You must be almost as old as I am.
I'd never heard of 'F that....' I may just look it up...
In fact, I'll meditate about finding it.
 

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