STRESS REDUCTION

The mind and the body are intimately connected, our physical health being greatly determined by our mental and emotional disposition.  Kenneth Pelletier, PhD., of Stanford Medical School succinctly stated, “Mind and body are inextricably linked, and their second-by-second interaction exerts a profound influence upon health and illness, life and death.”

According to the American Psychological Association, the six leading causes of death in the U.S. are all linked to stress – heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide, and research has implicated chronic stress as a major contributor to a wide variety of diseases and other health issues such as:

 ·         Headaches
·         Suppressed immune system
·         Rheumatoid arthritis
·         Diabetes
·         Sleep disorders

A landmark, 20-year study conducted by the University of London concluded that “unmanaged reactions to stress were a more dangerous risk factor for cancer and heart disease than either cigarette smoking or high cholesterol foods.”

Chronic stress also exerts a strong and adverse affect on the brain even altering brain cells, brain structure, and brain function.  Research has shown that unmanaged stress:
·         Diminishes short, and long-term memory
·         Inhibits the formation of new memories
·         Diminishes the ability to learn new things
·         Diminishes problem-solving abilities
·         Diminishes the ability to concentrate

Through the regular daily practice of Mindfulness Meditation we can completely change our relationship to stressors while at the same time greatly reducing the adverse affects of chronic stress. Every time we sit to meditate we are actively supporting and promoting our own health and well-being in heart, mind, and body.

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