Tai chi has been called “meditation in motion.” It’s a mind, body, and spirit self-defense practice that combines controlled thinking and breathing with graceful body movements. If you’ve survived heart failure, this ancient Chinese martial art might lighten your mood according to a new study aimed at seeing if heart failure patients who practice tai chi function better and experience a higher quality of life compared to others.

The study involved 100 people who were undergoing outpatient treatment for heart failure. With an average age of 67, half of them enrolled in an eight-week tai chi course while the other half received printed information about healthy living. At the end of the study, members of both groups were able to do about the same amount of exercise as they could before the eight-week period. However, compared to the non-tai cChi group, The tai chi group reported more improvements in quality of life, mood, and their belief in how well they could exercise.

The 2011 report came after earlier studies in New Zealand and the U.K. which found that people with brain trauma injuries felt happier after taking tai chi courses. Moreover, tai chi, which involves meditation and exercise, has been shown to improve the mental health of people experiencing depression and those living with diabetes.

So if you’ve survived heart failure, ask your doctor if it’s okay for you to try tai chi. You can learn about the latest tai chi research at TaiChiResearch.com. And if you’ve got the blues, resist the urges to isolate yourself and hide your feelings. Let your family and friends know how you’re doing and consider seeking professional counseling. After all, good heart-to-heart talks have been lifting people’s spirits since ancient times.