While stress can be a healthy feeling that pushes us to think creatively, adapt and problem solve, too much stress is a common problem. Excess stress can lead to increase cortisol, fight, or flight hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine as well as increased inflammation, fatigue, poor sleep, anxiety, and depression and may worsen pain as well as chronic diseases.
Stress may often be caused by how we interpret events. Attempting to give a different meaning to what is creating stress and anxiety such as finding the silver lining or changing the interpretation of an event (he was mean to me not because he is evil but because he himself is insecure) are very helpful in that respect.
Stress reducing techniques help us reorient our mind, structure our time and energy, increase our awareness of body, emotions and mind while decreasing judgment of ourselves and others. These techniques help us release steam, reconnect with what is well, laugh and relax. They include exercise, listening to good music, taking time to laugh with friends, praying and connecting with the pulse of life, various psychotherapy techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mind body techniques such as meditation, meditative prayer, mindfulness, guided imagery, relaxation response, yoga, TaiChi and Chi Gong. A key component of stress reduction is learning to develop a gentle, curious, non judgmental awareness of self, others, relationships and environment.
Our mind and body are intimately connected. When our mind is happier and peaceful, our body feels better and when our body is well taken care of with good nutrition and exercise, our mind is peaceful and happier.
Mind body medicine is the practice of paying attention to optimizing our minds and emotions while being aware of our body.
Mind body practices have been proven to improve:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Interpersonal relationships
- Lack of concentration
- Anxiety, depression, trauma
- Inflammatory disorders including autoimmune disorders such as psoriasis
- Gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome
- Addictions such as smoking and overeating
- Preparation for surgery
- Coping with chronic diseases from chronic fatigue to cancer.
We hope this section of the website will give you the resources, tools, and skills to decrease the negative impact of stress and improve feelings of wellbeing and relaxation.