A Healthier U

DO YOU PRACTICE MINDFULNESS?

Do the stresses of daily life have you feeling anxious? In today’s day and age, people tend to find themselves exponentially busier with longer hours on the job, more familial commitments, and the stresses of day-to-day life. Anxiety is ever-present in modern Western culture. The effects of anxiety disorder can range from small levels of stress to all-consuming, hindrance of day-to-day activities and can take a toll on physical health. Recent research has been examining more ways to decrease anxiety in individuals and increase coping skills in stressful situations. Mindfulness practices have shown to be efficient at significantly reducing anxiety levels. Time Magazine recently published an article, “How Meditation Helps You Handle Stress Better,” in which Dr. Elizabeth Hoge from Georgetown University conducted a study to test the efficacy of mindfulness.

Participants in this study were taught Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) a practice that uses tools that increase awareness in the present moment and control breathing. After eight weeks of learning MBSR, participants were asked to speak publicly and perform math in front of a group of people with white lab coats and clipboards. The MBSR group reported lower levels of stress and lower blood levels of Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone (ACTH – a stress hormone released by the brain) when compared to the control group. This study, along with many others demonstrate the powerful effects mindfulness practices can have on stress levels.

Mindfulness is not strictly limited to studies and the yoga studio; this is a practice that can be done anywhere at any time. Below are some resources to increase self-awareness and mindfulness if you wish to learn more.

Mindfulness/meditations to try:

  1. Headspace app
  2. Insight timer app
  3. PEAK yoga classes
  4. Stop, breathe, think
  5. mindfulnesscds.com

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For more expert health news and information, visit healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed.