WHO recognizes stress as a critical factor in mental health and the onset of mental disorders including depression and dementia.
Your body’s response to external stressors is a natural phenomena that can have positive impacts on your performance and even your safety – think studying for an exam or jumping away from a snake. But chronic stress is a different story.
Chronic exposure to psychosocial stressors and focusing on negative emotions, relationship issues and perceived threats can lead to things like sleep disruption, anxiety, depression, chronic inflammation, immune system dysfunction and cardiovascular disease. If you often feel stressed, you aren’t alone. Nearly half of Americans report frequently feeling stressed. Anxiety, including anxiety about one’s health, is also on the rise in the U.S, as are feelings of depression.
Mindfulness meditation is one way that we can help better control how our minds and bodies respond to and recover from psychosocial stressors. Other stressors such as violence, abuse, poverty and pain are devastating conditions that require physical and structural interventions. However, mindfulness meditation can help us overhaul our perceptions of mild to moderate stressors in our lives, in ways that can improve our cognitive performance, mental and physical health.
Mindfulness is the practice of moment-to-moment awareness, without judgement, according to the UMASS Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. It looks like “paying attention to your present moment experiences with openness, curiosity and a willingness to be with what is,” according to Diana Winston of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. Mindfulness in practice involves focusing on one thing, such as your breath, having your mind wander and then having a mindful moment where you notice that your mind has wandered and you bring your focus back to your one thing.
Mindfulness activities like mindful breathing, yoga and meditation improve well-being, markers of stress, concentration, memory, inflammatory responses and overall mental health. They also help you better regulate your emotions and impulses, which can contribute to a lowering of your body’s stress responses to what you think, feel and do.
Precision Wellness guides you to get more mindful minutes into your day, whether through mindful movement, breathing or meditation.