The American Psychological Association states that a greater number of Americans are reporting extreme levels of stress. As researchers continue to understand the ability for stress to precipitate mental and physical ailments, the importance of research-backed stress reduction strategies increases.
Stress can at times be beneficial - it can motivate us to study for a test and it helped our ancestors survive the threat of dangerous wildlife.
The challenge is that ongoing stress, trauma, and adverse life events impact our ability to stay resilient and over time we may find ourselves developing anxiety, depression, health challenges and addictive behaviors to deal with the chronic stress we are experiencing internally. While mental illness is the foremost contributing factor to disability in the United States, research demonstrates that many mental health challenges are preventable, and intervention treatments are often highly effective.
However, no matter what the situation is, the ability to return to a parasympathetic, calm state once the stressor is over, is a leading component of good health.
As our world speeds up, it’s up to us as individuals to take the time that we need to slow down. Think of mindfulness as an exercise for your brain. Just as physical exercise is a component of overall health, so too is mindfulness and meditation. As we continually find more efficient solutions to our everyday problems, sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder that going back to basics, and focusing on our breath, will help keep us evolving.
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